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June 2, 2010

A rough week for Guatemala

In just the past seven days, residents of Guatemala and parts of neighboring Honduras and El Salvador have had to cope with a volcanic eruption and ash fall, a powerful tropical storm, the resulting floods and landslides, and a frightening sinkhole in Guatemala City that swallowed up a small building and an intersection. Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on May 27th, blanketing Guatemala City with ash, closing the airport, and killing one television reporter who was near the eruption. Two days later, as Guatemalans worked to clear the ash, Tropical Storm Agatha made landfall bringing heavy rains that washed away bridges, filled some villages with mud, and somehow triggered the giant sinkhole - the exact cause is still being studied. (34 photos total)

A woman stands in mud left by a landslide caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in the el Pedregal neighborhood of Amatitlan May 31, 2010. Stunned victims of Agatha wept by destroyed homes and rescue crews dug bodies out of mud in Guatemala on Monday after torrential rain killed at least 179 people across Central America. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair)

Lava flows from the Pacaya volcano near Guatemala City on May 28, 2010. Pacaya erupted on Thursday, May 27th, killing journalist Anibal Archila who was reporting for local news Noti7. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

Cameraman Byron Secaida recounts his story after being rescued from the Pacaya volcano near Guatemala City May 27, 2010. Byron was working with journalist Anibal Archila who was killed while reporting for local news Noti7 during the eruption. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

A man displays volcanic ash cleared from his vehicle on May 27, 2010 in the municipal seat of Villa Nueva, following a powerful eruption of the Pacaya volcano, 50 kilometers south of Guatemala City. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

An American Airlines jet sits covered with ash from the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano on the runway at the International airport in Guatemala City May 28, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

Children being evacuated on a school bus from the town of Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010, peer out from ash covered windows after the Pacaya volcano erupted a day earlier. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #

A man shows the stitches he received after being injured by volcanic rock on the slopes of the Pacaya Volcano on May 28, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

Volcanic ash from the Pacaya Volcano blankets houses and a church in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday, May 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #

Villagers remain outside their homes fearing new outbursts of the Pacaya volcano, south of Guatemala City, in Las Calderas, San Vicente Pacaya, Guatemala. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Two men watch a heavy swell on May 29, 2010, in San Jose port, Escuintla, 110 kilometers south of Guatemala City as the season's first tropical storm named Agatha approached bringing drenching rain, mudslides and floods. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Workers clean up ash from the Pacaya volcano during Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City May 29, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

A girl tries to drain rainwater out of a street in Amatitlan, south of Guatemala City, Saturday, May 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #

People watch the swollen Madre Vieja river under heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Patulul, Guatemala, Saturday, May 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #

People climb up onto a bridge after a portion of it was washed away by rain water after Tropical Storm Agatha, in Barberena, Guatemala May 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

A resident dumps mud removed from his house after the Mico river overflowed due to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Agatha in Amatitlan, Guatemala, Tuesday June 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #

A woman crosses a flooded roadway after the Mico river overflowed due to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Agatha in Amatitlan, Guatemala, Tuesday June 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #

People examine a car destroyed by a mudslide caused by Tropical Storm Agatha on May 30, 2010, in the municipality of Palin, Escuintla in Guatemala. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Residents talk at their house entrance, half covered by mud left after the Mico river overflowed due to Tropical Storm Agatha in Amatitlan, Guatemala, Tuesday June 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #

A man sits with his two dogs where his house once stood in Amatitilan, Guatemala on May 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

A woman cries inside her mud-filled home after a mudslide caused by Tropical Storm Agatha hit the el Pedregal neighborhood of Amatitlan May 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

A woman and her son rest on a bed after their home was destroyed by a landslide caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Amatitilan May 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

A soldier guards food supplies that will be sent to victims of Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City June 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

Soldiers unload food supplies for victims of Tropical Storm Agatha in Retauhleu, Guatemala June 1, 2010. Collapsed roads and highway bridges complicated rescue efforts in Guatemala on Tuesday after Agatha drenched Central America, burying homes under mud and killing at least 179 people. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

Flooding caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Retalhuleu, Guatemala May 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Casa Presidencial) #

Rescue workers look for landslide victims in a settlement called "19 de Mayo" in Guatemala City May 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Doriam Morales) #

Muddy hand prints cover the the wall of a house in the el Pedregal neighborhood of Amatitlan, Guatemala on May 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

People gather in front of bodies of victims, killed during mudslides caused by Tropical Storm Agatha, in Guatemala City, Sunday, May 30, 2010. (AP Photo) #

A car remains buried near the area where 11 people died when a landslide destroyed their home on the northern outskirts of Guatemala City on May 31, 2010. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Guatemalan Luis Perez mourns over the coffins of his wife and his two-year-old son, who died along with nine other people, when a landslide destroyed their home in Canaan, in the northern outskirts of Guatemala City. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman cleans mud from her home in Amatitilan, Guatemala on May 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair (GUATEMALA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER) #

A security guard looks at the edge of a massive sinkhole in Guatemala City on May 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair) #

View of a huge sinkhole caused by Tropical Storm Agatha, in Guatemala City, on May 31, 2010. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Gazing down into the giant sinkhole that opened up in Guatemala City, swallowing an intersection and a 3-story building, seen on June 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel LeClair (GUATEMALA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER IMAGES OF THE DAY) #

The sinkhole caused by the rains of Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City is estimated to be 30 meters wide and over 60 meters deep. The sinkhole formed Saturday, swallowing a clothing factory about three miles from the site of a similar sinkhole three years ago. The clothing factory had closed only an hour before it plunged into the Earth. (REUTERS/Casa Presidencial) #

 
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