Hurricane Eta triggered mudslides have killed at least 150 in Guatemala

At least 150 people have died in Guatemala after dozens were buried by mudslides triggered by Storm Eta’s torrential rains.

President Alejandro Giammattei said around 100 people were feared dead in Quejá in the central region of Alta Verapaz.

Bad weather has hampered rescue efforts while roads are still blocked and large areas remain flooded.

he U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned “catastrophic flooding” in the region would continue.

Earlier, the authorities had confirmed at least 50 deaths across the country.

Eta made landfall in neighbouring Nicaragua on Tuesday as a Category Four hurricane with winds of 140mph and torrential rains. It then weakened into a tropical depression as it moved into neighbouring Honduras and later Guatemala.

President Giammattei said rescue efforts were limited by the country having only one helicopter adequate for these operations.

“We have a lot of people trapped, we have not been able to reach,” he said. A state of emergency has been declared in many areas.

The president described the situation in Queja as “critical”. No bodies have yet been recovered from the area.

In neighbouring Honduras, at least 10 deaths have been confirmed, with hundreds of people reportedly waiting to be rescued from flooded areas.

On Twitter, Foreign Affairs Minister Lisandro Rosales said: “The destruction that Eta leaves us is enormous and public finances are at a critical moment because of Covid-19.”

He added: “We make a call to the international community to accelerate the process of recovery and reconstruction.”

On Friday evening, Eta was off Belize’s coast in the Caribbean, churning towards Cuba and Florida, the NHC said.

But remnants of the weather system will continue to hammer parts of Central America with flooding, it added.

Flash flooding was also possible across Jamaica, southeast Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Cuba.