image sourceReutersimage captionParts of the town of Tovar were buried in mud after the local river burst its banks

Rescue workers are searching for more than a dozen people who are missing after landslides tore through towns in Venezuela's western Mérida state.

With 10 more days of rain forecast, rescuers are racing to reach those feared buried before new mudslides are triggered.

Twenty people are confirmed to have died and emergency workers have still to reach some of the worst-hit areas.

President Nicolás Maduro said more than 8,000 homes had been destroyed.

image sourceReutersimage captionMany homes have become uninhabitable

While 11 states were affected by the heavy rains, most of the fatalities occurred in Mérida in the Andes, where streets in mountain villages were converted into raging torrents.

Footage taken by locals showed cars being swept away and boulders strewn over muddy roads.

It is not the first time the Mocotíes valley has been hit by deadly mudslides. In 2005, more than 40 people died and dozens went missing in the area when several rivers overflowed.

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