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Guatemala - Mexico

Record rains wreak havoc in Guatemala and Mexico

Photo: Reuters

Record amounts of rain have fallen in parts of Guatemala and south-east Mexico. Guatemala has declared a state of national emergency after two landslides killed at least 38 people and left nearly two dozen others missing on Friday.

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Thousands of people in the Mexican state of Tabasco have been forced from their homes by flooding.

And there has been widespread damage in Guatemala. In the worst incident, a hillside collapsed on a crowd of volunteers as they tried to dig out a bus buried by a previous mudslide.

Local police officer Pascual Tuy said volunteers pulled several people out of the mud, and were still digging when the second landslide struck.

A landslide also buried a family of four inside their house in the western Guatemalan region of Quetzaltenango, while 13 more people were killed in separate incidents around the country.

President Alvaro Colom called the disaster a national tragedy and estimates that the damage across Guatemala currently stands at between up to 390 million euros.

He said there are not enough funds left to deal with the disaster following tropical storm Agatha, which killed 165 people in Guatemala, and left thousands homeless.

He said he would also propose a special tax to help pay for reconstruction. 

With more heavy rain forecast, authorities have closed more than 100km of the Pan-American Highway.

Parts of the country have received their highest rainfall in half a century, according to Guatemala's national meteorological institute, causing hillsides to collapse suddenly and without warning.

The downpours have come ahead of what is traditionally the worst part of the rainy season, which lasts until the end of October

 

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