Storm Eta leaves 150 dead or missing in Guatemala

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Storm Eta caused widespread flooding and mudslides in Guatemala
Storm Eta caused widespread flooding and mudslides in Guatemala

About 150 people have either died or remain unaccounted for in Guatemala due to mudslides caused by powerful storm Eta, which buried an entire village, President Alejandro Giammattei said Friday.

Giammattei said an army unit had arrived in the northern village of Queja to begin rescue efforts.

He said a preliminary report from the unit indicated that "150 homes have been buried with 100 people dead."

Giammattei added that another mudslide in the northeastern department of Huehuetenango, on the border with Mexico, had left 10 dead.

"We've calculated that between deaths and those missing, the unofficial figures show around 150 dead," said Giammattei.

He said the situation in Queja was "critical" with heavy rain continuing to fall and provoking new mudslides, while roads are still blocked.

He said some 2,500 people in the impoverished Mayan indigenous area had lost their belongings in the deluge of mud.

Giammattei said there were several refuges in the area because some villages are cut off and lacking food and water.

Eta has torn through Central America, leaving death and destruction in its wake since it made landfall in Nicaragua on Tuesday as a category 4 hurricane, although it has since been downgraded.

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