Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Guatemala storms

At least 150 people have been killed – most of them in Guatemala - because of heavy rain brought by Tropical Storm Agatha. More than 3 feet fell on parts of the country causing rivers to burst their banks, and unleashing landslides. In the capital, Guatemala City, a giant sinkhole opened up and swallowed buildings.

The rescue effort has been hampered by the destruction of roads and bridges, and further rain is forecast. The disaster comes just days after more than 1,500 Guatemalans had to flee their homes because of the eruption of Mount Pacaya.

In 2005, Hurricane Stan killed more than 1,500 people in the country. Again, it was not the winds, but the floods and mudslides brought by torrential rain that did the damage.

Hurricane Mitch, the deadliest on the Atlantic in two centuries, caused more than 380 deaths in Guatemala in 1998, though the storm did its deadliest work in Honduras, where perhaps 14,000 were killed, and Nicaragua where the death toll was approaching 4,000.

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