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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 19:47 GMT
Guatemala homes swallowed by hole
Firemen inspect the scene
Officials say a saturated sewer caused the problem
Several houses and at least one lorry have been swallowed by a giant sinkhole in a poor district of Guatemala City.

The hole is said to be more than 100m (330ft) deep. Residents said they had felt the earth shaking and heard loud noises before the houses collapsed.

More than 1,000 homes were evacuated in the area. The national emergency agency said there had not been any casualties.

Officials said the sinkhole had probably been caused by a saturated sewer main.

"I was in my house and I started to hear booming and I heard the earth shaking, and then I realised the houses had collapsed [into the sinkhole]," neighbour Maria Rivas was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Officials had initially urged residents to stay at home on Thursday night, but later decided to move them to temporary shelters.

Three people who had officially been declared missing turned up later, national disaster co-ordinator Hugo Hernandez said.

Mayor Alvaro Arzu said the sewers were now being repaired and help was being offered to those affected.

Aerial footage of the giant sinkhole

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