6 Sep 2010

State of emergency declared in Guatemala

2:55 pm on 6 September 2010

A state of emergency has been declared in Guatemala where days of heavy rain have caused widespread flooding and landslides.

Up to 100 people are reported to have been buried in a landslide on a highway. They were attempting to dig a bus out of a mudslide when a second one engulfed the scene.

At least 36 people have been confirmed killed by mudslides and flooding throughout the country since Saturday.

President Alvaro Colom said the rains have undone all the reconstruction work done since Tropical Storm Agatha, which killed 165 people in May.

He has asked Congress to approve emergency funds for rebuilding.

Mr Colom said the damage estimates were between $US350 million and $US500 million.

Days of heavy rains have saturated mountainous terrain areas, causing hillsides to collapse suddenly and without warning.