GUATEMALA CITY – Around 800 people living in the village of Plan de Dios located in the greater Guatemala City area, were displaced by authorities on Thursday amid their loud complaints that they “have no place to go.”
Despite the situation of “high vulnerability” in which the people now find themselves, the mass eviction was carried out as per a court order, an official with the human rights prosecutor’s institution, Gustavo Ovalle, told EFE.
The settlement was created about 10 months ago, but it is located on private property, and – after exhausting all legal remedies – the authorities proceeded with clearing the land.
About 600 National Civil Police officers were deployed in the area to oversee the eviction, which went ahead without incident.
So far, no particular problems have cropped up with the procedure, although the affected families repeatedly expressed their outrage and complaints at having to leave their homes.
Many of the people are afraid of now having to settle elsewhere, potentially in high-risk areas such as ravines.
Earlier this week, 10 people, including two children, died in a mudslide at another marginal settlement near the capital.
In the Guatemala City metro area there are 232 settlements considered to be “at risk” since they are located on hillsides or in ravines, and it is calculated that some 300,000 people live there.
On Oct. 1, 2015, a landslide killed 280 people – and 70 others are missing and presumed dead – in El Cambray II, in the southeastern Guatemala municipality of Santa Catarina Pinula.