113 dead and 54 lost in wake of hurricane
Published 01/06/2010 | 05:00
Rescue crews used shovels and picks to dig bodies out of thick mud in Guatemala yesterday after tropical storm Agatha's torrential rain killed at least 113 people across Central America.
The first named storm of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season, Agatha slammed into Guatemala on Saturday, dumping more than a metre of rain in the mountainous west of the country and in neighbouring El Salvador, and sparking worries about damage to the coffee crop in both countries.
More than 94,000 people have been evacuated as the storm buried homes under mud, swept away a bridge near Guatemala City and opened up sinkholes in the capital.
The head of the emergency services, Alejandro Maldonado, said at least 92 people had died in Guatemala, and another 54 people were missing. Nine people were killed in El Salvador and 12 in Honduras, including a woman who was electrocuted as she was helped from her flooded home.
Agatha dissipated as it crossed Guatemala but emergency workers warned residents to expect heavy rain for several more days and said further mudslides were possible.
Guatemalan officials have warned the flooding from Agatha could be worsened by ash from the country's Pacaya volcano blocking drains.