Massive sink hole opens up and swallows dozens of people

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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 6:01 pm » by Savwafair2012

Tropical Storm Agatha kills 150 in 3 Central American countries; dozens missing

May 31: A giant sinkhole covers a street intersection in downtown Guatemala City.

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Flooding and landslides from the season's first tropical storm have killed at least 150 people and made thousands homeless in Central America, officials said.

Dozens of people were missing and emergency crews struggled to reach isolated communities cut off by washed-out roads and collapsed bridges caused by Tropical Storm Agatha.

The sun emerged Monday in hardest-hit Guatemala, where officials reported 123 dead and at least 90 missing. In the department of Chimaltenango — a province west of Guatemala City — landslides buried dozens of rural Indian communities and killed at least 60 people, Gov. Erick de Leon said.

"The department has collapsed," de Leon said. "There are a lot of dead people. The roads are blocked. The shelters are overflowing. We need water, food, clothes, blankets — but above all, money."

In the tiny village of Parajbei, a slide smothered three homes and killed 11 people.

"It was raining really hard and there was a huge noise," said Vicente Azcaj, 56, who ran outside and saw that a hill had crumbled. "Now everyone is afraid that the same will happen to their homes."

Volunteers from nearby villages worked nonstop since Sunday to recover the bodies in Parajbei, and on Monday they found the last two: brothers, 4 and 8 years old, who were buried under tons of dirt, rocks and trees.

As a thank-you, rescuers got a plate of rice and beans from the mayor of nearby Santa Apolonia.


"It's a small thing, but it comes from the heart," Tulio Nunez told them through a translator.

Nunez said he worried about the well-being of survivors in the area because landslides blocked roads and broke water pipes.

"They don't have anything to drink," he said.

In all some 110,000 people were evacuated in Guatemala.

Thousands more fled their homes in neighboring Honduras, where the death toll rose to 17 while meteorologists predicted three more days of rain.

Two dams near the capital of Tegucigalpa overflowed into a nearby river, and officials warned people to stay away from swollen waterways.

"The risk is enormous," Mayor Ricardo Alvarez said.

In El Salvador, 11,000 people were evacuated. The death toll rose to 10 and two others were missing, President Mauricio Funes said Monday night.

About 95 percent of the country's roads were affected by landslides, but most remained open, Transportation Minister Gerson Martinez said. He said 179 bridges had been wrecked.

The Lempa River, which flows to the Pacific, topped its banks and flooded at least 20 villages, affecting some 6,000 people, said Jorge Melendez, director of the Civil Protection Agency.

Officials warned that the Acelhuate River, which cuts through San Salvador, was running at dangerously high levels and threatened to spill over into the capital's streets.

Melendez said classes would be suspended Tuesday in all primary and secondary schools and public and private universities across El Salvador.

Agatha made landfall near the Guatemala-Mexico border Saturday as a tropical storm with winds up to 45 mph (75 kph). It dissipated the following day over the mountains of western Guatemala.


The rising death toll is reminding nervous residents of Hurricane Mitch, which hovered over Central America for days in 1998, causing flooding and mudslides that killed nearly 11,000 people and left more than 8,000 missing and unaccounted for.

Rescue efforts in Guatemala have been complicated by a volcanic eruption Thursday near the capital that blanketed parts of the area with ash.

Image ... latestnews ... 5874041823

DOWNPOURS caused by Tropical Storm Agatha have created a giant sinkhole in Guatemala City, while officials reporting the death toll could reach 150.

Guatemala's President Alvaro Colom told a news conference that 123 people were now confirmed killed and another 90 missing in his country as a result of Tropical Storm Agatha, which dumped heavy rains before dissipating in the country's highlands.

Colom's statement contradicts earlier comments by Guatemala officials who said the tropical storm killed at least 142 people.

``I want to make clear that those are provisional numbers because new information continues to come in,'' Colom said.

``There are many villages that still have not been able to report their tragedies.''

Downpours caused by Agatha created a giant sinkhole in Guatemala City.

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The sinkhole, which formed in the northern part of the capital city, swallowed up a space larger than the area of a street intersection, CNN reported on Monday.

Residents told CNN that a three-storey building and a house fell into the hole.

A local newspaper reported that a private security guard was killed when the sinkhole opened up, but authorities had not confirmed the fatality.

Earlier, the Red Cross disaster response unit in Panama City had reported 17 deaths in Honduras and nine in El Salvador.

``Most of the fatalities were due to landslides that collapsed building and peoples' homes,'' Paco Maldonado, the unit's chief, told AFP.

Tens of thousands of people were in shelters and international aid was beginning to step up France said on Monday it was sending humanitarian supplies, and issued a statement expressing its condolences to the affected countries.

Colom said six US military aircraft had been deployed from a base in Honduras.

In Guatemala, which has been under a state of emergency since Saturday, 155,000 people were forced to flee their homes at peril of floods and mudslides.

Of those about, 50,000 were in shelters, officials said.

Honduras and El Salvador both declared nationwide states of emergency.

More than 8000 people were forced to leave their homes in El Salvador, and more than 3,000 in Honduras, which has received $US 225,000 ($A266,000) in help from regional banks, in addition to $US500,000 ($A591,37) and 5000 tonnes of food from the UN's World Food Program.

The World Bank said it was finalising with Guatemala an $US85 million ($A100.53 million) loan to help it cope with the two disasters.
Last edited by Savwafair2012 on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 6:04 pm » by E6722maj

holy crap! that picture's insane! :nails: :alien:

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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 6:09 pm » by E6722maj

cornbread714 wrote:I couldn't believe that photo, but it appears to be real. ... 25454.html

my first thought was - photoshop. if not, wow! :alien:

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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 6:38 pm » by Mahsooyee

Damn, imagine that! Being on the street and suddenly the earth just swallows you up! :nails:

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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 6:40 pm » by jetxvii

It's a Blackhole at the center of our planet created by CERN or a Stargate from the Gulf Of Aden...

GAWD.... Why else would it be there?

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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 6:45 pm » by Drextin

Same here............first thought was no way that is real..........then you see the ground level pics and it blows your mind.

Damn good post sav!
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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 6:51 pm » by Spock

This awful. Who would ever think the earth could just give out from under you like that.

Imagine it went something like this...

[youtube]<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>[/youtube]
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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 7:00 pm » by sockpuppet

Yep. That hole is way too "perfectly round" and "perfectly smooth".
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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 7:03 pm » by Cornbread714

sockpuppet wrote:Yep. That hole is way too "perfectly round" and "perfectly smooth".

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PostTue Jun 01, 2010 7:10 pm » by E6722maj

@ drabbit nice TBM pics :flop:
@ jet, cornbread :D ho ho :flop:
@ spock that floor collapse was terrible.



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