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Safety questions arise following Washington landslide

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Thursday, March 27, 2014, 4:18 PM -

Days after a devastating landslide in Washington state, residents are wondering if more could have been done to prevent the disaster. 

Officials have now reduced the number of people missing or unaccounted for in a huge landslide near Seattle to 90, nearly half of what it was Wednesday.

The death toll stands at 16, but authorities believe at least another 8 bodies have been found, but cannot yet be recovered due to the thick mud.

Rescue teams say this has been an extremely discouraging search -- but emergency crews insist this slow, labourious and sometimes dangerous process is still a rescue operation.

The side of a mountain came thundering down Saturday, leveling 2.5 square kilometres of this small community.


RELATED: Must see: mudslide overtakes cars in Colorado 


Many residents are asking officials why the river banks weren't more reinforced and why there wasn't more warning when a geological report from 1999 warned of "the potential for a large catastrophic failure" in the area.

Through the years, smaller slides did take place. The last one was in in 2006, and it did damage some homes.

But, officials say this area was a hot spot, and that the public knew the risks of living there.

But that's not intended to downplay the terror residents felt when the horrific slide hit.

Witnesses have described the aftermath of the mud slide as a scene of "chaos and destruction."

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