Guatemala declares mudslide-hit community uninhabitable
Prosecutors in Guatemala said yesterday they have opened an investigation into who allowed homes to be built in an unsafe area where a massive mudslide killed at least 161 people.
Rotman Perez, secretary of criminal policy at the Public Ministry, said officials will seek to find out which officials gave authorisation for the construction and determine their degree of responsibility.
Meanwhile, officials were weighing what to do with the site of the acres-wide mudslide believed to hold hundreds of bodies, as well as a surrounding area of largely untouched homes declared uninhabitable.
Simply too vast to excavate fully, there may come a point where officials simply end digging efforts at the site and declare the area a de-facto graveyard, the buried houses serving as final tombs for the dead.
Officials are also considering what to do with residents of the Cambray community on the outskirts of Guatemala City, whose houses escaped Thursday's massive landslide but whose neighbourhood has now been declared uninhabitable by Guatemala's National Disaster Reduction Commission, known as the Conred.
"They told us they have to get organised, they have to buy land" for us, said Clara Elena Solorzano, 40, who had lived in the neighbourhood for 17 years in a house her husband built. "Also that they're getting money together to buy us homes, but nothing concrete."
As workers continued to search for bodies under the mud, questions mounted about how people got permission to build homes at the base of a dangerous hillside next to a small river.