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Guatemala Landslide Death Toll Tops 220; Another 350 Missing

  • Reuters

A worker places flowers on the tomb of Santos Etelvina Sontay, who died in the Cambray neighborhood mudslide, at the Santa Catarina Pinula cemetery on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Oct. 5, 2015.

A worker places flowers on the tomb of Santos Etelvina Sontay, who died in the Cambray neighborhood mudslide, at the Santa Catarina Pinula cemetery on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Oct. 5, 2015.

At least 220 bodies have been recovered after a massive landslide buried part of a town in Guatemala last week, while about 350 people are missing, national disaster agency Conred said Thursday.

Loosened by heavy rains, a hillside collapsed onto Santa Catarina Pinula on the southeastern flank of Guatemala City on October 1, burying more than 100 homes under tons of earth, rock and trees, and sparking a huge rescue effort.

Conred said 386 people were evacuated after the tragedy, one of the worst in years to strike Central America, a region long prone to devastating floods.

Entire families were buried alive, and hundreds of rescue workers have spent the past week trying to dig out bodies.

Guatemalan authorities initially said up to 600 people were unaccounted for in the disaster. Since then, it has given various estimates of the number missing.

Prosecutors in Guatemala said they were looking at whether there was any criminal misconduct at the site after Conred had warned of the risks of building homes in the neighborhood, which lies at the bottom of a deep ravine.

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