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Guatemalan bus rescuers hit by new mudslide

Guatemalan bus rescuers hit by new mudslide
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Dozens of people are feared dead in Guatemala, buried under a massive landslide as they tried to
dig out victims from a bus which itself had been crushed under a pile of earth.

The bus had plunged into a ravine. Local people were attempting to reach those trapped inside, using spades and shovels, when the new mudslide smothered them.

At least 20 bodies have been recovered; the search for others was called off because of torrential rain.

It happened on a main highway northwest of the capital, and was the worst of several fatal landslides as torrential rain battered the country.

“We are very worried seeing these tragedies which are the result of the severe weather changes affecting us,” said Guatemala’s vice-president, Rafael Espada. “The risk is high, we have to check the roads, secure the critical spots.”

A national disaster’s been declared. Many people have fled the sodden hillsides; some 12,000 have been moved to emergency shelters.

People have been warned to stay off the roads. More than 30 separate landslides cut one of Guatemala’s main highways within a single 50 kilometre stretch.

The rain comes four months after a tropical storm ravaged the country, killing 165 people and causing hundreds of millions of euros worth of damage.