Death toll rises in Guatemala landslide

Hundreds of people are still missing but chances of survival are low after massive landslide killed at least 86 people.

    Hopes have faded of finding any remaining survivors of a massive landslide in Guatemala that killed at least 86 people, with hundreds still missing.

    On Saturday, relatives of the victims shovelled alongside diggers through the mounds of earth that destroyed homes in Santa Catarina Pinula on the southeastern flank of Guatemala City after Thursday night's collapse of a hillside.

    "Six of my family members are missing - my parents and four siblings," Elvin Sin told Al Jazeera.

    "I haven't been able to rest and won't until I see them again. But asking to see them alive is a lot. They are buried under 15 metres of dirt."

    About 350 people are still unaccounted for, authorities said.

    Clutching photos of loved ones, family members stood in line outside a makeshift morgue near the excavation site to see if they recognised any of the corpses.

    Loosened by rain, tonnes of earth, rock, and trees had cascaded onto a neighbourhood of the town known as El Cambray II near the bottom of a ravine, flattening houses and trapping residents who had gone home for the night.

    Some houses were buried under about 15 metres of earth, and Guatemalan disaster agency CONRED said it doubted any other survivors would be found.

    "Hope is the last think you lose, so we hope to find someone alive," Williams Mansilla, Guatemala's defence minister, said, though he also acknowledged the likelihood was very low.

    Meanwhile, there are fears of more landslides.

    "We can see that the hill opposite the slide also runs the risk of a landslide. And on the side that already collapsed there is a fracture that could bring down more earth," Julio Sanchez, a spokesman for the country's emergency services, told Al Jazeera.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.