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At least 5 family members die in Guatemala landslide caused by deluge; more rain expected

GUATEMALA CITY — Heavy rains have killed at least five people in Guatemala, where authorities today urged residents to take precautions because showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue this week.

National Office for Disaster Reduction director Alejandro Maldonado said a landslide set off by rain killed five members of a family over the weekend in the province of Huehuetenango.

He said the family’s neighbors and rescue crews saved the family’s dog after the animal was partially buried for more than 18 hours.

Several rivers have burst their banks and the drainage systems in at least four western provinces have collapsed. So far, authorities haven’t reported any major flooding, Maldonado said.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said an area of low pressure about 250 miles (645 kilometers) south-southeast of the coastal city of Salina Cruz, Mexico, has a 90 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next two days.

The Mexican state of Chiapas, which neighbors Guatemala, had seen light to moderate rains for 24 hours and some landslides were cleared from roads in the state’s mountainous areas, state Civil Protection spokesman Jose Aragon said. He said authorities would begin evacuating people Monday evening from coastal and low-lying areas next to rivers that are prone to flooding.

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