BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Monday October 10 2005 16:01 GMT

Guatemala rescue effort suspended

A high street in Guatemala covered in mud

Rescue efforts have been halted in some parts of Guatemala, after experts decided it was too dangerous to carry on digging for mudslide survivors.

More than 650 people there have died, after Tropical Storm Stan triggered landslides in Central America.

With hundreds more missing, there are calls for some villages to be declared mass graves after they were swamped.

Stan hit Mexico on Tuesday but most of the damage was done by mudslides after days of torrential rain.

Rescuers are still not able to reach at least 90 villages cut off by the mudslides.


The affected area

Some officials estimate up to 1,400 people could be buried, and some villages have been completely covered in mud.

Diego Esquina, the mayor of a village called Panabaj, said his village "will no longer exist".

He is asking for the area to be declared a cemetery, because it is so hard to get bodies out from the mud.

Over 100 people have also died across Central America as a result of the storm.

Colombia and the US have promised to send food, blankets and first aid equipment to help survivors.