Hundreds feared dead after landslide in Guatemala

A 300ft hillside collapsed onto a neighbourhood of 150 homes on the outskirts of Guatemala City

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The Independent US

Heavy rains have caused a landslide on the outskirts of Guatemala's capital, Guatemala City, killing at least 30 people and injuring 36 more.

A hillside about 300ft high collapsed on the residential neighbourhood of around 150 homes late on Thursday. 

Initial reports have suggested a further 100 people may be missing but that number could rise to as much as 600 due to the number of homes in the area, according Alejandro Maldonado, executive secretary of Conred, the country's emergency disaster agency.

More than 500 rescue workers, police and family members desperately combed through the rubble looking for survivors.

Family members have reported receiving text messages from loved ones still trapped beneath the rubble more than 24 hours after the landslide, according to ABC Online.

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Rescue workers had to suspend search and research due to bad weather on Friday

Hundreds of rescue workers used shovels in a desperate effort to reach survivors, pulling one man alive from the rubble of his collapsed home more than 15 hours after the landslide hit late on Thursday.

Rescuers called off the search late on Friday because rains made it dangerous for emergency crews, but planned to resume this morning.

Julio Sanchez, spokesman for Guatemala's volunteer firefighters, said the dead, including two babies, were carried to an improvised morgue where weeping relatives identified their bodies, and families arrived looking for people who were missing.

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The 300ft hillside collapsed in heavy rains

The hill that towers over Cambray, a neighborhood in the suburb of Santa Catarina Pinula, about 10 miles east of Guatemala City, partly collapsed onto a 200ft stretch of the hamlet just before midnight.

Housewife Dulce del Carmen Lavarenzo Pu, 28, had just returned from church Thursday night when the wave of mud swept down just 150ft from her home. 

"I heard this terrible noise and everything began to shake," Lavarenzo Pu said. "Everything went black, because the lights went out." 

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Survivors collect emergency aid

Raul Rodas, an assistant village mayor, said about 150 families had lived in the area where the mudslide occurred, but didn't know how many might be trapped. 

The man pulled alive from the wreckage, Rony Pu, 23, was rescued from a home near the edge of mudflow. But at its center, the landslide buried houses under a layer of rocks and earth as much as 50 feet (15 meters) deep. 

Some of the untouched homes in Cambray, which sits on the edge of a small river, were abandoned by their owners for fear of further mudslides. 

Additional reporting by AP

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