Accessibility links

20 Killed in Guatemala Mudslides

Torrential rains in Guatemala triggered landslides across the country that have killed dozens, most in separate disasters along the same highway.

Authorities say one mudslide engulfed a bus on the Inter-American Highway Saturday, killing at least 12 passengers and injuring 20 others. Officials say the bus was about 80 kilometers outside the capital, Guatemala City.

Civil Defense Director Sergio Cabanas said shortly after the first incident, vehicles were trapped by another landslide on the same road. He said at least 10 people died in the second slide.

An official with the regional fire department, Major Otto Mazariegos, said some of the victims from the second slide were rescuers and as many as 150 people are missing.

, a mudslide also buried a house in Guatemala's western Quetzaltenango province, killing four people. Officials say at least four others have died in separate mudslide incidents across the country.

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has declared a national emergency in the wake of the flooding and landslides. He said weeks of heavy rains have caused as much as $500 million in damage.

Tropical weather systems in both the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico have left hillsides throughout Guatemala and southern Mexico saturated with water. Meteorologists have forecast more rain throughout the region Sunday.

Heavy flooding in the Mexican Gulf state of Tabasco has forced thousands of people from their homes. Authorities in neighboring Chiapas and Oaxaca states, which border Guatemala, and the state of Veracruz have also reported serious flooding.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.