Rescue officials reach remote Guatemala’s communities hit by flooding

Authorities reaching new communities previously cut off from the outside world by flood waters raised the number of Guatemalans whose homes were damaged, destroyed, or threatened by new rain fall to 200,000, and the official death toll to 654.

In addition to losing their possessions, many of the residents lost their livelihood after a week of relentless rains triggered flooding and mudslides, the AP reports.

Agriculture Secretary Alvaro Aguilar said in an interview that officials had now reached 95 percent of the 515 estimated communities across Guatemala hit by flooding.

The death toll from landslides and flooding rose to 654 Tuesday after two more bodies were found, and the number of missing whose bodies may never be recovered has risen to nearly 600, meaning more than 1,200 people may have been killed nationwide.

More than 130 people died in El Salvador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras due to the heavy rains. Helping to spark the downpours were weather patterns associated with Hurricane Stan, which came ashore along Mexico's Gulf Coast on Oct. 4, and brought flooding of its own before weakening. A.M.

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