The heavy rains at the tail end of the rainy season have taken their toll on some areas. In a town near the capital, nestled in a valley between two hills, the rain caused death and destruction.
Half a mountain of mud and clay slid down on top of an estimated 150 houses around 9 pm, Friday night. Estimates of the missing range from 300-600, but no one really knows. The valley was so narrow that there are meters and meters of mud and dirt on top of the houses, many of which did not collapse completely, leaving people alive inside the ruins. We know this because they are texting their friends and family from under the mud.
Despite this, bodies are being pulled out. One woman told cameras that her son had been found with his head wedged between the wall and the bed, while her husband was found under tree. Both were taken to the hospital, but she stayed on site, because one of her sons was still missing.
One of the things I really love about Guatemala is how quickly people organized to help those left homeless. There are bottles of water, food, blankets and clothing being donated, not all from NGOs or foreigners, but by the Guatemalan people themselves. They know what it’s like to be without and they hurry to help.
As of last night, 55 survivors had been pulled out of the mudslide and taken to the hospital. This is another worry, because the hospitals here are in a downward spiral. I wrote about my MIL’s issues but we’ve been learning that it is far, far worse. I’ll write a post on this in the future, but basically, the public hospitals are out of supplies. They don’t have gloves, IV kits, or even basic medicines to bring down fevers. I’m not sure how they are going to handle this sudden rush of landslide victims . . . unless people also donate the items necessary for surgeries and basic medical treatment.
For now, the nation watches anxiously, cheering for each survivor pulled out and feeling saddened with every lifeless body that appears.