After a mudslide hit around 15 kilometers to the south of Guatemala City on Thursday night, the enormous rescue mission in search of the 131 confirmed dead and around 300 disappeared continues.
“Our real objective is that we need to keep uncovering bodies. We don’t have a date that we are going to stop working.” Julio Sánchez, spokesperson for the Santa Catarina Pinula rescue mission told the BBC.
“Hope is the last thing we’ll lose,” he added, “we won’t lose hope that we are going to find survivors, but only one survivor has been uncovered and it’s still day one.”
The disaster resulted in around one million cubic tons of earth covering 125 homes, as a result of unstable earth on which the houses had been built.
Families living in the Cambray II municipality were last advised of the problems they faced residing in the area during November 2014. Cambray II is known as being high risk due to its proximity to the River Pinula, as layers of silt and soils cover the hills sloping downwards towards the river bed.
Yet the pain and uncertainty faced by family members looking for their loved ones continues to increase.
An estimated 21 children were killed during the mudslide.
“Earth, nothing more.”
On Sunday night, the 69 rescue workers met with the 72 hour international protocol required for the search and rescue of victims, yet work at the site continues.
Pablo Sandoval is the only survivor from his family.
Having heard of the disaster he arrived home to find “earth, nothing more.”
“We were a hardworking, dedicated family, right from my parents to the youngest member.”
Dozens of families continue to face an agonizing wait as bodies are identified in a makeshift morgue.
“We can’t declare it (Santa Catalina Pinula) a cemetery,” Sánchez adds as the rescue mission continues.