GUATEMALA CITY – A woman and an eight-month-old baby are the two people so far known to have died in a Guatemala mudslide, although at least eight others are missing in Alta Verapaz province.
The incident took place on Wednesday night in the village of Pantic when a stream overflowed, causing the mudslide, which according to images provided by the authorities, brought down tons of earth, mud and stones.
The spokesman for the National Disaster Reduction Coordinator, David de Leon, told reporters that institution personnel, along with firefighters, are working at the scene searching for victims, which damaged 25 homes and affected some 200 people.
The authorities are also evaluating the sector to determine if any further mudslide risk exists.
Since the start of this year’s rainy season 21 people have died, almost 215,000 have had property damage and more than 5,000 have been evacuated. At least 2,970 homes have been damaged, of which 145 are at risk of collapse, along with 82 roads, 18 bridges and seven schools.
Guatemala, one of the world’s countries most vulnerable to natural disasters, in 2016 registered 463 such incidents affecting more than 445,000 people, killing 57 and injuring 108. Six people are still missing in those incidents.
In 2015, authorities reported 302 deaths and 73 missing in natural disasters, with almost two million people affected by torrential rains, volcanic eruptions and contamination of the La Pasion River.
According to authorities, Guatemala has more than 10,000 high-risk areas around the country where some three million residents are at risk of injury or worse.