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World News \ Americas

Mudslide near Guatemala City kills 17

Police keep watch over the rescue efforts in Santa Catarina Pinula, near Guatemala City - REUTERS

Police keep watch over the rescue efforts in Santa Catarina Pinula, near Guatemala City - REUTERS

05/10/2015 09:15

(Vatican Radio)  More than 130 people are confirmed dead and more than 300 are missing in the town of Cambray near to Guatemala City, following a massive mudslide.  After 4 days, the nature of the rescue efforts are changing.

Listen to James Blears' report:

Rescuers and sniffer dogs have been been working round the clock shifts since the disaster on Thursday, after a looming 100 meters hillside saturated by constant heavy rains, collapsed, engulfing more than 100 homes.

Some houses are buried as deep as 15 metres under the cloying mud and rubble. Thirty people have been rescued, but no one else has been recovered from the disaster area over the weekend.

Now hands and hoes which have been carefully and painstakingly sifting, are being replaced by bulldozers and heavy machinery with almost no hope of finding any further survivors under the mudslide which covers 1.7 hectares.

Almost 2,000 emergency service workers, wearing masks to try and hold back the increasing stench of death, are determined to carry on searching.  Shrill blown whistles peroiodically demend absolute silence, so even very faint noises can be heard. But as the hours transform into days, nothing is forthcoming.

An investigation has already been launched into this ghastly tragedy, which has claimed many lives, with the death toll certain to rise still further.

05/10/2015 09:15