October 9, 2015 / 7:27 PM / 4 years ago

Guatemala landslide toll reaches 253 dead, 374 missing

Relatives participate in the burial of Santos Etelvina Sontay, a victim of a mudslide in Santa Catarina Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - At least 253 bodies have been recovered after a massive landslide buried part of a town in Guatemala last week, with 374 people still unaccounted for, national disaster agency Conred said on Friday.

After heavy rains, a hillside collapsed onto Santa Catarina Pinula on the southeastern edge of Guatemala City on Oct. 1, burying more than a hundred homes under tons of earth, rock and trees.

Entire families were buried alive and hundreds of rescue workers have spent the past week trying to dig out bodies.

Around 40 families still living in the area have been given official notice that they must leave. The government has promised to build them new homes, hoping to use a plot of land through an expired ownership law, but is still looking at whether to give them financial subsidies in the meantime.

The rescue effort will continue through the weekend, Conred said.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu and Enrique Pretel; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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