Mudslides In Guatemala Kill Dozens; Colom Declares “National Tragedy”
September 6, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mudslides caused by torrential rains have killed dozens of people in Guatemala, with President Álvaro Colom calling it a “national tragedy.”
At least 37 people have been killed and rescue crews are digging through the mud in the hopes of finding nearly two dozen people missing. The people missing were part of a crowd trying to dig out a bus from deep mud on Sunday.
“A wall of earth fell on a bus and around 100 local people organized themselves to dig out the victims,” said fire department spokesman Sergio Vásquez, according to The New York Times. “Then another landslide came along and buried them.”
>Sunday’s incident follows another mudlside that happened this weekend as people attempted to rescue another buried bus. In the earlier incident 12 people died.
Guatemala’s National Coordination for Disaster Reduction said there was almost 200 landslides, wall collapses and mudslides across the country. 40,000 people had been made homeless and another 10,000 had been evacuated from rain-saturated regions.
“This weekend alone we have seen damage comparable to what we experienced with Agatha,” Colom said according to AFP, in reference to a tropical storm in May that killed 165 Guatemalans and left thousands homeless.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Justice Department on Thursday sued an Arizona sheriff for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that he and his police force discriminate against Hispanics in a program to crack down on undocumented immigrants.
- Mexican soldiers killed at least 30 suspected cartel members in two shootouts near the U.S. border, authorities said Friday.
- The Obama administration is considering a substantial spending increase on the Mexican drug war, the latest sign of its growing concern about the rampant violence plaguing Mexico.
- Cuba’s Fidel Castro wore a full military uniform and spoke to a mass audience Friday for the first time since he nearly died four years ago.
- Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo has gone on trial on charges of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds between 2000 and 2004.
- Police in El Salvador have found a plastic barrel stuffed with $9 million of suspected drug money on a farm in the centre of the country.
- El Salvador has made it illegal to belong to a street gang in the wake of an attack on a passenger bus that killed 17 people.
- Colombia ruled out peace talks with the FARC rebels after they allegedly killed five soldiers and 14 police officers, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said.
- A Black Hawk helicopter carrying 14 members of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s military escort made an emergency landing near Bogota on Saturday, wounding three soldiers, the president told reporters.
- Venezuela’s “Good Life Card,” presented by President Hugo Chávez, has caused some worry in the country as some see it a rationing card similar to the ones used in Cuba.
- Brazilian presidential candidate José Serra accused opponent Dilma Rousseff of being involved in a scandal in which the financial records of his daughter and others in the PSDB party were illegal accessed.
- Four of the sixteen Uruguayans who survived a plane crash and 72 days in the Andes in 1972 spoke to the 33 trapped Chilean miners and met with their relatives Saturday.
- The Chilean film “Post Mortem”, set during the beginning of the Pinochet dictatorship, premiered to positive reviews at the Venice Film Festival Sunday.
- Japan beat Paraguay 1-0 Saturday in the first game between the two countries since Paraguay defeated Japan on penalty kicks in the round 16 stage of the World Cup.
Image: World Economic Forum @ Wikicommons.