Rain-fuelled landslide in El Salvador kills 9; 1 lacking

Nejapa (El Salvador), October 31

A landslide left nine people dead, seven injured and one missing after torrential rains in El Salvador, civil defence officials have said.

The slide occurred on Thursday night when earth from the upper part of the San Salvador volcano was set in motion, sweeping up trees and homes along a nearly 2.5-mile (4 km) course some 12 miles (20 kilometres) north of the capital.

Local resident Roxana Ruiz came to the search area looking for news of her cousin; she later learned her body had been found.

“Three of my relatives died,” Ruiz said, adding: “My cousin, her husband, and their child. They were buried, but now they found them.”

Interior Minister Mario Duran on Friday said: “This morning we confirmed the deaths of two adult women, a girl, three adult men and a boy, and a few minutes ago we found a man and a woman.”

Duran said trained dogs were aiding in the search. He said that all but one of the 35 missing people had been located but said the search would continue for one man whose wife’s body had already been found.

“Some people crawled out of the rubble and mud, and they have joined the effort to rescue their relatives and friends,” Duran said, adding: “The families in this area have suffered a tragic situation.”

Civil Defence Director William Hernandez said “according to preliminary data, residents tell us that some 40 homes have been destroyed,” adding that dozens of people were moved from the area to a church.

A total of 135 homes were damaged or destroyed by the landslide.

Housing Minister Michelle Sol promised to erect replacement housing for affected families, noting “we have found two lots where we can build housing for the victims. We are going to start the paperwork soon to offer these families help”.

President Nayib Bukele mobilised the army to help in the search and rescue operation.

“We believe that we can find people alive and we are not going to rest,” said Interior Minister Mario Duran. Speaking from the site, Duran said that some managed to escape the flow of mud and joined the search for family and friends. AP

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