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Guatemala Landslide Death Toll Reaches 220, 350 People Remain Missing

At least 220 bodies have been recovered after a massive landslide buried part of a town in Guatemala last week while about 350 people are missing, national disaster agency Conred said on Thursday.
Rescue team members carry a stuffed unicorn and the remains of a mudslide victim towards a temporary morgue, in Santa Catarina Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Josue Decavele

At least 220 bodies have been recovered after a massive landslide buried part of a town in Guatemala last week while about 350 people are missing, national disaster agency Conred said on Thursday.

Loosened by heavy rains, a hillside collapsed onto Santa Catarina Pinula on the southeastern flank of Guatemala City on Oct. 1, burying more than a hundred homes under tons of earth, rock and trees, and sparking a huge rescue effort.

Conred said 386 people were evacuated after the tragedy, one of the worst in years to strike Central America, a region long been prone to devastating floods.

Entire families were buried alive and hundreds of rescue workers have spent the past week trying to dig out bodies.

Guatemalan authorities initially said up to 600 people were accounted for in the disaster. Since then, it has given various estimates on the number missing.

Prosecutors in Guatemala said they are looking at whether there was any criminal misconduct at the site after Conred had warned of the risks of building homes in the neighborhood, which lies at the bottom of a deep ravine.