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Mudslide in Guatemala claims 26, at least 600 missing

By Tomas Monzon

EL CAMBRAY DOS, Guatemala, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Heavy rains Thursday caused boulders and mud to slide onto houses in the Guatemalan village of El Cambray Dos, killing 26 and leaving hundreds more missing.

The village is located about nine miles east of Guatemala City. People trapped under the rubble have been calling and texting their relatives as survivors sought refuge in makeshift shelters.

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A spokesman for volunteer firefighters in Guatemala, Julio Sanchez, confirmed the number of casualties and said another 36 people were taken to local hospitals. One man was removed from the rubble, alive, more than 15 hours after the mudslide hit.

Alejandro Maldonado, who helms the Guatemelan disaster agency, estimated as many as 600 people could still be missing.

On Friday, dozens of rescue workers and volunteers searched for survivors until the effort was called off due to heavy rains.

The village of El Cambray Dos features homes on the bottom of a valley surrounded by steep hills. Maldonado said the hills had been weakening recently due to heavy rain.

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