Giant sinkhole shocks neighborhood in Guatemala City
From Helena de Moura, CNN
June 2, 2010
Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
(CNN) -- Residents of a center-city neighborhood in Guatemala City, Guatemala, are still in shock after a massive sinkhole opened last weekend, gobbling several buildings and nearly an entire intersection, according to local officials.
Over the weekend, the nearly perfect cylindrical crater developed and consumed whatever was on its surface, including structures and utility lines. There were no reports of deaths related to the sinkhole.
The sinkhole's destruction added to the tragic events in Central America related to Tropical Storm Agatha, which left a death toll of more than 175 people in the region that includes Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The 20-meter (about 66 feet) diameter sinkhole is about 30 meters (about 100 feet) deep.
Guatemala City's human rights ombudsman, Sergio Morales, confirmed reports that since 2005, residents in the area had complained of rumblings, fissures and sinking terrain.
"Yes, we can attest that they have been complaining since 2005 and we are looking into the initial complaints, " said Morales.
"We are looking into the original response by municipal authorities," he said.
In an interview with the newspaper Prensa Libre, neighborhood association president Augusto Lopez Rincon said he believed that excessive traffic caused by commercial trucks was to blame for the sinkhole.
A big, scary hole - A frightening image appeared on the photo sharing site Flickr.com of a sinkhole in Guatemala City that several on Twitter are calling the sinkhole to "hell." Tropical Storm Agatha drenched the region, resulting in the deaths of nearly 150 people in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In Guatemala alone, 90 people are missing, officials said. The country is suffering even more because the Pacaya volcano, which erupted Thursday night, has continued to spew ash. Three people were killed when they were crushed by rocks strewn by the volcano.
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