237 bodies recovered

TEMALA CITY: Rescuers have recovered 237 bodies from the remains of a village near the Guatemalan capital that was buried under a landslide one week ago, an official said on Thursday. About 150 other people are still missing in Santa Catarina Pinula, where houses were covered last Thursday by a mountain of mud and debris following heavy rains. Julia Barrera, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office, said 237 bodies had been recovered, revising an earlier toll of 221. Julio Sanchez of the volunteer fire brigade told AFP at the scene that rescue work would continue, aided by specially trained dogs. But crews said it would be nothing short of a miracle if anyone were found alive. The stench of decomposing bodies forced rescue crews to wear respirators, Sanchez said, adding that those working at the site had received hepatitis and tetanus shots to protect against the spread of disease. The public prosecutor has opened a probe into the disaster. Leading up to the tragedy, municipal authorities had urged the community to relocate several times, most recently in November last year.