Hundreds evacuated after mudslide in Guatemala

January 9th, 2009 - 6:40 am ICT by IANS  

Guatemala City, Jan 9 (IANS) Some 1,300 families have been evacuated from their homes in northern Guatemala following Sunday’s mudslide in which 38 people were killed and 30 still missing, EFE news agency reported Friday.Emergency management officials in San Cristobal Verapaz province said that the evacuation to a safer zone had been carried out in the last few hours.

“We’re working hard to protect the people who live in the nearby areas,” emergency management secretary Alejandro Maldonado told reporters.

Maldonado said that several geologists and engineers were working in the area and their preliminary conclusions were that there was a secondary tectonic fault running through the site.

“The intensity of the fault will be determined to establish what other communities are at risk and to evacuate them to keep (the people) safe and provide humanitarian assistance,” he added.

Thousands of tonnes of earth, rock and trees last Sunday buried a group of farm workers in the community of Los Chorros, while they were walking along the highway.

The highway had been closed after a landslide last December there killed two people. Three people are still missing in the earlier incident.

The Conred secretary called the mudslide “a painful tragedy” and announced that the agency would work with several institutions to determine if the area can be resettled.

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