At least 20 killed in western Venezuela floods

On state TV on Wednesday a ruling Socialist Party official in Merida announced the death doll had risen and said authorities were working to restore telephone service in some areas.

State governor Ramon Guevara said earlier that more than 1,200 houses had been destroyed and 17 people remained missing as rescue workers search the wreckage.

"Let's try not to make this political or ideological," Guevara, a member of the Democratic Action opposition party, said. "Lets all look for solutions to the problem."

Images shared on social media showed cars being swept down streets, buildings and businesses filled with mud, and mudslides that left boulders strewn across roads.

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