GUATEMALA

At least 22 are killed in landslide

At least 22 people were killed when part of a mountain collapsed onto a road on Sunday in a landslide triggered by a geological fault, disaster relief officials said.

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Reuters - At least 22 people were killed when part of a mountain collapsed onto a road in northern Guatemala on Sunday, officials said.

Hugo Arvizu, a spokesman for disaster relief commission CONRED, said 22 people were dead but Guatemalan Vice President Rafael Espada later said villagers may have pulled an additional 20 to 30 bodies out of the rubble.

The victims were hit by the massive landslide as they walked along a road in a hilly, sparsely populated area in Alta Verapaz, some 124 miles (200 km) north of Guatemala City.

The landslide was triggered by a geological fault, Arvizu said.

Rescue efforts were hampered by further rockfalls and rescue workers were expected to resume work early on Monday.

"We have not been able to evacuate (the bodies) due to the landslides that continue to take place in the area," Espada told a news conference.

Landslides are common in Guatemala, but usually occur during the rainy season between June and November.

In mid-December, two people were killed in a smaller landslide in Alta Verapaz, a mainly indigenous region that is home to coffee and cardamom farms.

 

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