GUATEMALA CITY, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from landslides in Guatemala has risen to 36, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said on Sunday, calling this a "national tragedy."
The number released earlier was 22 deaths, as rescue teams just began their work. There were also 20 people reported injured and more than 100 missing.
According to the latest reports, a major landslide on the Inter American highway in Alaska zone, west of Guatemala City, buried five vehicles and a passenger bus.
A second landslide reportedly occurred when the rescue teams were trying to dig out the victims buried by the first one. More than 150 rescuers were working in the area at the time.
Later, a third landslide hit the same highway but in a different section, reportedly killing 12 people and injuring 20 others.
The landslides were mainly caused by the heavy rains that have been falling since Thursday and are forecast to continue for the next 24 hours.
President Colom declared on Saturday a state of national emergency. The Guatemalan government has evacuated more than 4,000 people and has estimated that 20,000 more are at risk.
- 24 killed in Yunnan landslide 2010-09-05