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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK
Storm kills 39 in Central America
Woman wades through her street in San Jose, Guatemala
Central America has been pounded by days of solid rain
At least 39 people across Central America have been killed in flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Stan.

El Salvador - already shaken by the eruption of its biggest volcano - was worst hit with at least 31 deaths.

The government has declared a state of emergency and is evacuating thousands amid warnings of further rains.

Stan also left a trail of misery elsewhere, killing at least four people in Guatemala and four in Honduras.

The storm swept across Mexico's Yucatan peninsula over the weekend, drenching Central America with three days of solid rain.

"60% of the country is in danger of landslides," El Salvador's President Tony Saca warned. "The risk caused by this accumulation of water is worrying."

The country's director of the National Emergency Centre, Mauricio Ferrer, said some 300 communities had been flooded.

More than 8,500 people had been forced to flee their homes, and were being accommodated in 122 shelters, he added.

Routes swamped

Officials said a landslide buried five members of the same family, including three children, in San Marcos, south-east of the Salvadorean capital, San Salvador.

"They are trapped in the mud that drowned them," sobbed Ana Ramos, aunt to the mother of the family.

Rescue workers search for victims of a landslide in El Salvador
Rescue workers are racing to find landslide and flood victims

Eighteen people were said to have died in the villages of Chaparral, Ateos, and Lourdes, west of San Salvador.

Emergency personnel were trying to reach stricken areas, but were hampered as landslides and swollen rivers cut off major routes.

Meanwhile, officials are keeping watch on Ilamatepec volcano, 65km (40miles) west of the capital, after it erupted early on Saturday, killing two people and forcing thousands to flee.

A state of emergency has also been declared in parts of Guatemala, after dozens of communities were also stranded by floods.

"We are noticing a critical situation in the south where the rivers have overflowed their banks," said disaster agency official Hugo Hernandez.

The victims included a pregnant woman, her son and nephew, who died when their house was flattened about 250km (150 miles) west of Guatemala City, officials said.

Three children were reportedly among those killed in the floods and mudslides that hit Honduras.

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