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Entries in Hurricane Agatha (1)

Wednesday
Jun022010

Hurricane Agatha deaths rise to 179 in Central America

Published: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 10:03 p.m. MDT

GUATEMALA CITY — Villagers used hoes and pick axes to hunt for victims of landslides that have killed at least 179 people in Central America while officials in Guatemala's capital tried to cope with a vast sinkhole that swallowed a clothing factory.

Thousands remained homeless and dozens still missing following the season's first tropical storm. Rescue crews struggled to reach isolated communities to distribute food and water.

"This is a total tragedy," said Jose Vicente Samayoa, president of a neighborhood group in Amatitlan, a flooded town south of Guatemala's capital.

Officials in Guatemala reported 152 dead but said 100 people were still missing. In the department of Chimaltenango — a province west of Guatemala City — landslides buried rural Indian communities and killed at least 60 people.

Curious onlookers also gathered at a massive and almost perfectly circular sinkhole that swallowed an entire intersection in Guatemala City over the weekend, gulping down a clothing factory but causing no deaths or injuries.

Authorities estimate the hole is 66 feet wide and nearly 100 feet deep, but they are still investigating what caused it.