Over one hundred missing in Guatemala mudslide as death toll rises to 22

08:56, September 06, 2010      

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Over one hundred were still missing after several mudslides struck a highway in Guatemala Satuarday and the fatalities had risen to 22, according to Guatemalan officials.

"We are told that there are 150 missing ... Under the earth there is a bus that carried we don't know how many people," said Major Otto Mazariegos of regional fire department.

Earlier reports said 14 people died, 13 others were injured and another three were missing after days of heavy rains triggered two landslides in the west of the country.

Ten people were killed instantly and 15 others injured when a bus they were aboard was pounded by falling rocks and mud on a highway in Chimaltenango department, the reports said.

Two of the injured died in a nearby hospital and many more victims were feared still buried.

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom had declared a national emergency and ordered to close the highway in case more slides might occur.

Large part of Guatemala has been hit by heavy rains since February, which has led to the swelling of many rivers. An emergency state has been declared in many departments and thousands of people have been evacuated from lowlying areas.

Guatemala's meteorologists forecast another 24-36 hours of heavy rainfall across most of the country.

To prepare for possible future mudslides, emergency staff are working to evacuate some 4,000 people from their homes in many parts of the country, according to official sources.

Source: Xinhua


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