September 6, 2010 in Nation/World

Rain-driven mudslides kill dozens in Guatemala

Moises Castillo Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Manuel Sohom Ixmata, center, relative of a mudslide victim, reacts in Nahuala, Guatemala, on Sunday. Mudslides killed at least 38 people across the country.
(Full-size photo)

NAHUALA, Guatemala – Torrential rains from a tropical depression caused landslides that have killed at least 38 people in Guatemala – some of them rescuers trying to save people already buried under a wall of mud.

In the village of Nahuala, about 200 rescue workers suspended the search for bodies Sunday afternoon after heavy rain fell in the area, Civil Protection spokesman David de Leon said.

Two slides in the same spot in the town of Nahuala killed at least 20 along a highway leading northwest of the capital toward Mexico. Another slide closer to Guatemala City killed at least 12.

“We will return when the rain ceases,” De Leon said. “It is difficult and dangerous to continue with the search.”

President Alvaro Colom visited the area Sunday and said today would be declared a national day of mourning.

Heavy rains from Tropical Depression 11-E have pelted Guatemala for days, unleashing mudslides in several areas, cutting highways and prompting officials to evacuate thousands of people.

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