It’s not the first sinkhole the size of an entire block in Guatemala City.
I had covered an even bigger one in 2007. Two seemingly bottomless, perfectly round holes, swallowed up an intersection and buildings, and in one case a family eating dinner at their dinner table. They both happened at night, both in the rain. On May 29, 2010 I was transmitting late night pictures from the last two sleepless days, covering a volcanic eruption that blanketed the city and country with a cloud of black sand-like ash. Then came Agatha, the first tropical storm of the season, which pounded Guatemala with so much rain that hillsides collapsed on villages and overflowing rivers washed houses away. More than 150 people are counted as dead so far, but they are still searching, digging through the mud to find more.
The night the hole was created, it was still raining heavily. We kept the news blaring on the radio. “A giant hole has opened up in Ciudad Nueva!” Again? This time it was closer to my house — less than 2 miles according to the city map. I jumped on the back of my wet motorbike. It would be tough to stay dry. I was there quickly but the police line was already up.
AMATITLAN, Guatemala (Reuters) – Stunned victims of Tropical Storm Agatha wept by destroyed homes and rescue crews dug bodies out of mud in Guatemala on Monday after torrential rain killed at least 132 people across Central America.
People caked in dirt searched for their loved ones as the stench of mud and sewage from flooded drains filled the air of towns outside Guatemala City and emergency workers urged survivors to leave ruined houses and go to shelters.