Dozens feared dead in mudslides

Dozens feared dead in mudslides

At least 22 people died and scores more were missing after mudslides engulfed parts of a Guatemalan motorway.

The first mudslide partially buried a bus under tons of mud at at a point on the road leading north of the capital toward Mexico. Officials said at least 12 people died. President Alvaro Colom declared a national emergency.

Colom told officials to close the road yesterday for fear of more slides. But hours later, vehicles were trapped by another slide and some people who came to rescue them were themselves caught in another slide.

Civil Defence director Sergio Cabanas said at least 10 people were killed - some in vehicles and some among people who came to rescue them. He said at least 60 people are missing.

Regional fire department Major Otto Mazariegos said some of the victims of the second slide were rescuers.

“We are told that there are 150 missing,” he said. “Under the earth there is a bus that carried we don’t know how many people, and there are those who tried to help the victims of the first slide.”

Heavy rains have pelted Guatemala for days, unleashing deadly mudslides in several areas and cutting highways.

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