Powerful Storm Eta leaves 150 dead or missing in Guatemala - GulfToday

Guatemalan landslides push Storm Eta’s death toll near 150


Residents are transported on a truck as they are evacuated from Omonita. Orlando Sierra/ AFP

Gulf Today Report

A landslide killed around 150 people by Storm Eta leapt on Friday. Guatemalan soldiers reached a mountain village where around 100 people were killed by a landslide, adding to dozens of other dead in Central America and Mexico.

President Alejandro Giammattei said on Friday that, about 150 people have died or remain unaccounted for in Guatemala due to mudslides caused by powerful Storm Eta, which devastated an indigenous village in the country’s north.

Guatemala-1View of a damaged road in El Progreso municipality, Yoro department, Honduras.

The devastating weather front brought destruction from Panama to Honduras and Mexico, which between them have registered more than 50 flood-related deaths.


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Giammattei hinted the death toll could be higher, with the number of dead and missing in Queja estimated at about 150.

A preliminary report indicated that “150 homes have been buried with 100 people dead,” he said.

Guatemala-2People look at the damage caused by heavy rains brought by Hurricane Eta.

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

Many of those who lost their lives in the village of Queja in the central Guatemalan region of Alta Verapaz were buried in their homes after mudslides swallowed around 150 houses, army spokesman Ruben Tellez said.

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

Guatemala-3View of a car at a flooded street due to heavy rains in Omonita, El Progreso municipality.

Flash-flooding risk

Eta tore through Central America, leaving death and destruction in its wake since it first rocked Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane.

Two days later it exited Honduras as a tropical depression, although forecasters warned it could again strengthen into a tropical storm as it heads towards Cuba.

Cuba began taking measures on Friday to soften Eta’s impact, ahead of the storm’s expected arrival on Sunday.

Guatemala-4Police help residents move to higher ground after they were rescued from a flooded area in Planeta, Honduras. Delmer Martinez/AP

Despite Eta having lost power, the US National Hurricane Center continued to warn of “life-threatening flash flooding” over portions of Central America.

The storm brought heavy rain that caused deadly flooding in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama.

Two people died in Nicaragua, where Eta tore through impoverished coastal areas and swept away whole villages.

In Honduras, 10 people were killed by landslides and floods, authorities said, warning there could be more victims.

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