Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammatteri reported at a news conference on Thursday, November 5, that at least 50 people have been killed, largely in eastern regions of the country, following the passing of Hurricane Eta and its damaging effects. At least 25 houses are known to have been buried under a landslide near San Cristobal Verapaz (Alta Verapaz department) with dozens of people believed to be trapped inside. Heavy damage has also been reported in the northern department of Quiche, where multiple people remain unaccounted for. Dozens of emergency teams from the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) have been deployed across multiple areas of the country to assist in rescue and recovery efforts.
Further weather-related disruptions are expected across Guatemala in the near term. Localized disruptions from ongoing emergency response and recovery operations are also likely in storm-affected areas.
Guatemala is semi-regularly affected by tropical storm systems, which can approach from its Caribbean coast from June through November. These storms can be particularly ravaging for rural areas, many of which have suffered catastrophic damage from winds and flooding in the past.
Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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