Saturday, October 03, 2015

Nine dead, 600 missing in Guatemala landslide

At least nine people were dead and about 600 missing in a landslide that buried more than 100 homes in southern Guatemala, emergency services said on Friday.

Hundreds of rescue workers dug through sludge and rocks to spot survivors of the landslide which occurred Thursday night following heavy rains in the El Cambray II neighborhood of the town of Santa Catarina Pinula, 15 km south of the capital Guatemala City, according to daily newspaper Prensa Libre.

"Eighteen hours after a landslide at least 125 houses were leveled and some 600 people missing, and the search has intensified (as) rescue teams have located survivors trapped in the rubbles," the daily said on its website.

Qainy Bonilla, an 18-year-old national squash player who had hoped to represent his country at the 2016 Olympics, was among the fatality.

Municipal firefighters and volunteers could hear voices from those trapped by the landslide, while rescuers remained careful to search through the collapsing rubbles.

Guatemala's National Disaster Mitigation Coordination (Conred) set up a temporary shelter nearby for homeless residents.

The Mayor of Santa Catarina Pinula announced that the local government would help cover the funeral expenses of the victims and provide support for the subsequent relocation.

The village used to be inhabited by poor families and some of the houses were built from sheets of metal and cardboard while others from more sturdy materials like concrete.

This year's rainy season -- from May to October -- has affected more than 350,000 people, according to Conred data.

Climate change has made Guatemala one of the most vulnerable countries to extreme weather phenomenons in recent years.

 Xinhua -
2- 3 /10/15

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