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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
Central America storm toll rises
A destroyed road in Guatemala

Rescue workers have pulled 40 bodies from the remains of a village smashed by a landslide in Guatemala.

The discovery takes the number killed across Central America by Tropical Storm Stan to at least 230.

Several days of heavy rain have finally begun to clear, but hillsides are still treacherous and rivers perilously high.

Guatemala has recorded about 120 dead, with fatalities also reported in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras.

Guatemala's civil protection agency said 40 bodies were recovered from a town on the edge of Santiago Atitlan.

The ground is saturated and we could have more tragedies
Salvadoran Red Cross spokesman

A spokesman would not comment on local media reports that hundreds of people might still be missing in the town, popular with Western visitors to the Mayan highlands.

"There are still a lot of people to be found, some 150 to 200," said Pedro Mendoza, a local taking part in rescue efforts.

"The landslide was Wednesday but because the roads are blocked, no one can get through to help us."

City flooded

Guatemalan President Oscar Berger took to the clearing skies in a helicopter to see the devastation.

Tropical Storm Stan wreaks havoc across Central America.

With two other villages wiped out and flood waters up to two metres (6.5ft) high in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second-most important city, he has asked Congress to declare a state of emergency.

In El Salvador, officials said nearly 54,000 people had been evacuated to 370 shelters throughout the country, despite difficulties in passing many of the country's roads.

"The rain stopped, rays of sun have begun to warm the country, but the danger continues," warned Salvadoran Red Cross spokesman Carlos Lopez Mendoza.

"The ground is saturated and we could have more tragedies."

Mexico was also struck by the weather system, which has killed at least 10 people and caused at least 30 rivers to burst their banks.

The country is sending aid to El Salvador after a personal plea by Salvadoran President Tony Saca.

Mexican officials said the air force was preparing to deliver 200 metric tons of food and 30 metric tons of emergency supplies.

Stan briefly reached category one hurricane strength, slamming into Mexico on Tuesday with winds of 130km/h (80mph), before fading quickly.

The damage has been done by the heavy rains that fell solidly over parts of the region for days, swelling rivers into torrents that have swept away houses, roads and trees.

Rescuers struggle in wake of Stan
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Storm kills 39 in Central America
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Country profile: El Salvador
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