Fifteen people, including three children, were killed in a mudslide in northern Guatemala Tuesday night, according to Reuters. The mudslide caught the victims in their sleep.
The tragedy struck only one day after six tremors shook another part of the country on Monday, killing one person and injuring dozens.
Rain and unstable ground have reportedly prevented rescue crews from reaching the scene on foot. The rescue teams have been removing dirt with heavy machinery.
Rescue attempts will continue through Thursday, though local officials said there are close to no chances of unearthing anyone alive.
The mudslide took place near a small community of Santa Cruz Barillas, near the Mexican border, which lies at an altitude of 5,000 feet.
At least four houses were reportedly swept away by the mud.
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Only on Monday it was announced that three people died and many were injured after six consecutive earthquakes struck the South-East of the country. The first four were strongest, with the magnitude reaching 5.8 on the Richter scale.
Julie Dutton of the U.S. Geological Survey told The Christian Post that the mudslide was extremely unlikely to have been caused by the earthquakes.
“Mudslides don’t usually follow an earthquake,” she told CP.
She added that they might happen, but only when the land in the region has been wet and unstable.
Earlier, heavy rains were reported in the region where the mudslide took place. Officials have confirmed with the media that the rain was the most likely cause of the mudslide.
Monday’s quakes took place near the city of Santa Rosa, some 75 kilometers southeast of the capital city of Guatemala City.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the main quake hit at 12:34 local time at a depth of 39 kilometers, and was followed by a 4.8-magnitude quake 30 minutes later.
The earthquakes happened following a weekend of Independence Day celebrations in Guatemala.