At least seven people have been killed in a landslide sparked by heavy rains in El Salvador, the government said on Friday, and more than 30 others are suspected missing under a deluge of mud.
The mudslide hit the village of Los Angelitos in the municipality of Nejapa, about 17 kilometres (11 miles) north of the capital, San Salvador, after overnight rains loosened the earth on the flanks of the San Salvador Volcano.
Authorities said there were two children among the seven dead.
“At about 11 o’clock at night there was thunder and suddenly, we felt like there was a quake, it was when (the landslide) was coming,” said Ricarda Sibrian, 43, who told the Reuters news agency she had lost her daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law.
“But (it) had already reached my daughter’s house. We managed to get out, but we couldn’t get to her,” she said.
El Salvador’s Civil Protection Agency said the landslide had carved a route approximately 4km (2.5 miles) in length through Los Angelitos, sweeping mud, rocks and tree trunks in its path.
Defense Minister Rene Francis Merino Monroy tweeted photographs from the site showing soldiers with a sniffer dog working alongside fire crews and civilians to try to unearth survivors in the early hours of the morning.
Interior Minister Mario Duran called the situation “difficult” and said about 35 people were buried in the mudslide.