Thursday, September 08, 2016

Mudslide caused by heavy rains kills at least 10 in Guatemala

At least 10 people died in a mudslide caused by heavy rains in a southern Guatemalan town, emergency officials reported, adding that at least one other person is missing.

According to the Volunteer Firefighters, two children are known to be among the fatalities in the incident, which occurred in the community of Santa Isabel 2 in the municipality of Villa Nueva on Tuesday night.

Emergency workers are trying to locate another child, who is missing.

Municipal officials said that recent heavy rains caused a hillside where heavy vehicles were parked to give way and that, in turn, caused a concrete wall and a dumpster at the site to fall onto several homes.

A Villa Nueva spokesman said that nine homes were damaged or destroyed.

Authorities, he added, have established a temporary shelter at a local school to house people who have lost their homes.

Emergency workers managed to rescue eight people in the area and transported them to the hospital in the nearby town of Amatitlan, according to William Gonzalez, with the Volunteer Firefighters.

Another official, Julio Hernandez, told local television that the area is considered to be "high risk."

Some of the bodies of people who lost their lives in the incident were initially taken to a sports facility and then to the National Forensic Sciences Institute morgue.

  • On Oct. 1, 2015, a landslide killed 280 people in El Cambray II, in the southeastern Guatemalan town of Santa Catarina Pinula. Seventy people remain missing - and are presumed dead - in that incident.

Meanwhile, authorities expect in the coming hours to evacuate the last families from the settlement of Jesus de la Buena Esperanza, on the northern periphery of Guatemala City, where recent rains have put 276 homes at risk.

Just in the capital's metropolitan area, there are 232 communities considered to be "at risk" given that they are located on hillsides or in ravines. Some 300,000 people live there, according to estimates.

The United Nations says that Guatemala is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
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