Geologists study giant Guatemala sinkhole left in wake of Tropical Storm Agatha
Scientists are studying how exactly the giant, cylindrical Guatemala sinkhole was formed, and how to prevent more. Meanwhile, the US is joining relief efforts to help the thousands left homeless by Tropical Storm Agatha.
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In Guatemala, 152 were reported as dead, with 100 still missing. Chimaltenango, west of Guatemala City, was among the worst hit, as landslides buried entire communities. Sixty people were reported dead there.
Nearly 125,000 people were evacuated in Guatemala.
In Pictures Guatemala sinkhole
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In Honduras, the death toll stood at 18 and in El Salvador 10. Thousands were also evacuated in both countries. And infrastructure was widely damaged. In El Salvador, authorities estimate that 95 percent of roads were impacted by landslides, and that 179 bridges were damaged.
Wide path of destruction
The storm, the first of the Pacific hurricane season, hit on Saturday near the Guatemala-Mexico border, and died down the next day, but left a wide path of destruction in its wake.
Photos of villagers, covered in mud, and digging through their homes have circulated across the Internet. But no photo has captured the world's attention as much as the sinkhole in Guatemala City.
The sinkhole still remains a mystery, and reconstruction crews are reportedly awaiting to study the plans for the city´s drainage system before moving forward.
The mayor Guatemala City, Álvaro Arzú, said there may be a relationship between the sinkhole and the city's 36-year old drainage system that runs below the surface. He said, according to 21st Century, a Guatemala daily newspaper, that the country’s disaster response agency, CONRED, is using an X-ray like machine to study the earth in the area of the sinkhole.
Residents have voiced concern about how vulnerable they are in the wake of future storms.
But David de Leon, the spokesman for CONRED, says the situation can be address successfully.
Guatemala City suffered a major sinkhole in 2007, and that land is now stable.
Says Mr. de Leon: “It may look like it’s impossible to fix, but we’ve done it before.”
- Tropical Storm Agatha floods kill 150, cause giant sinkhole in Guatemala City
- Guatemala City sinkhole so big, so round it 'doesn't seem real'
- Giant sinkhole in Guatemala City: It can be fixed