Guatemala City, Sep 25 (EFE).- Rescuers in Guatemala on Monday located two people dead after a river overflowed its banks in the Central American country’s capital due to heavy rains.
Among the deceased are a 5-year-old girl and a male adult who has not been identified, Byron Morales, spokesman for the Volunteer Fire Department, confirmed to EFE.
The incident was reported in the community of Dios es Fiel, located in the west of Guatemala City under a bridge and where 104 families live in precarious conditions.
“It is a hard blow for the community because we were not only neighbors, we lived together as brothers,” Patricia Flores, a local social leader, told EFE.
According to official data, at least twenty people are missing, and the search will continue for the rest of the day.
Flores added that a similar incident had never happened before in the community and that in the early hours of the morning, due to the rains, they heard “a loud bang, and unfortunately, the current of the river carried away 11 houses.”
The Volunteer Firefighters mobilized 69 of their members to search, and the Army also sent rescue personnel to work in a perimeter of 8 kilometers around the disaster area.
The community of Dios es Fiel was inhabited in 2011 and since 2014 was declared uninhabitable by the municipal authorities. However, the neighbors have remained in the place because the economic conditions do not allow them to access other housing.
“We live here out of necessity. We have always been ignored, and now we are victims of this tragedy,” lamented Flores.
The community’s neighbors warn that the water current that swept away the houses brought construction materials and debris from homes in the surrounding areas.
According to official studies, there are more than 300 informal settlements in Guatemala City where some 700,000 people live in tin houses, on unstable land, on hillsides, and with little access to essential services such as water and electricity. EFE