Nine killed in Guatemala landslide

Guatemala City: At least nine people were killed and 600 missing in a landslide that buried more than 100 homes in 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 Santa Catarina Pinula town, 15 km from here, according to daily newspaper Prensa Libre.

“Eighteen hours after a landslide at least 125 houses were levelled 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 those killed, Xinhua news agency reported.

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.