At least 36 killed by Venezuela landslides as number of dead rises

The number killed by landslides in Venezuela has risen to at least 36 people after the country was hit by flooding and days of torrential rain.

Search and rescue operations have been taking place in the town of Las Tejerias, in the country's Aragua state, for the more than 50 people missing - swept away from their homes.

On Sunday, it was reported that 22 had died but that number is now confirmed to have risen.

Jennifer Galindez's husband is among the missing. The flood also killed her one-year-old granddaughter, who had been sitting on a sofa in the house when the devastating floods struck.

"I haven't been able to sleep," she said. "I can't close my eyes because that's what I see. I see my granddaughter, where I put her. I left her there and I couldn't get her out.

"My husband was by the window. I couldn't help him either and the water took him away."

Houses and businesses in the town - left without electricity or drinking water - are fully or partially filled with mud and other debris.

Jose Medina recalled how the water streaming into his home had reached waist level, trapping his family, so he turned his fridge onto its side and used it as a boat for his granddaughter, while he and his wife held on to it.

He described their survival as a "miracle".

The streets of Las Tejerias, a town of about 73,000 inhabitants, have been left filled with mud, rocks and tangled tree branches.

One of the flooded rivers, the El Pato, swept away several homes and shops.

Vice president Delcy Rodriguez said a month's worth of rain had fallen in just eight hours and pumps used to power the community's drinking water system were carried away in the flood waters.

"We have lost boys, girls," he said from a flooded street.

"What has happened in the town of Tejerias is a tragedy."