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Hundreds of people are missing in Guatemala after a mudslide hit a village not far from the country’s capital.

At least 26 bodies have so far been recovered from the village of El Cambray Dos, rescue services say.

Heavy rains swept a torrent of boulders and mud onto houses on October 1, nine miles east of Guatemala City.

Relatives have been receiving calls and texts from people trapped under the rubble, reporters at the scene say.

Photo Fox News

Photo Fox News

Survivors have been taken to makeshift shelters. Rescuers temporarily called off the search on October 2 because of heavy rains, AP reports.

Julio Sanchez, a spokesman for Guatemala’s volunteer firefighters, said 26 people had died, including a number of children, and another 36 people were taken to hospitals.

One man was pulled alive from the rubble after more than 15 hours after the mudslide hit.

Acting President Alejandro Maldonado has warned that as many as 600 people could still be missing.

He said that number of people was believed to be asleep in their homes when the mudslide occurred, he added.

El Cambray Dos is surrounded by steep hills that tower over the houses which are mostly set in the valley bottom.

Alejandro Maldonado said in a radio interview that the forested hills had been weakening for some time and had collapsed largely because of recent heavy rain.

Thousands of people have been evacuated in Guatemala after the Fuego volcano started spewing ash and lava.

Volcanologists said powerful eruptions were catapulting burning rocks as high as 1,000 m (3,280 ft) above the crater and lava was flowing down its slopes.

Local residents reported how the roaring of the volcano shook windows and roofs in nearby villages.

Experts say the eruption of the Fuego, 50 km (31 miles) south-west of Guatemala City, is the biggest since 1999.

Thousands of people have been evacuated in Guatemala after the Fuego volcano started spewing ash and lava

Thousands of people have been evacuated in Guatemala after the Fuego volcano started spewing ash and lava

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said the eruption could affect people as far away as the capital.

“We will do the best we can to avoid people being harmed,” he said.

Cars, lorries and buses covered in grey cash could be seen speeding away from the area towards Guatemala City.

Some of those who fled their homes headed for an emergency shelter at a school in the town of Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa.

Miriam Carumaco, 28, who arrived there with 16 members of her family, said: “We heard loud thunder and then it got dark and ash began falling.

“It sounded like a pressure cooker that wouldn’t stop.”

Head of Emergency Evacuations Sergio Cabanas originally said evacuation orders for more than 33,000 people in 17 towns and villages had been issued.

However, he later said that 11,000 had been evacuated and no more would be necessary as the eruptions had died down by late Thursday.

“It is hoped that by tomorrow [Friday] the volcano will return to normal activity and that families will be able to return home,” he said.

Officials said lava was covering a 7 km (4.3-mile) area on the south and south-western side of the Fuego.

The authorities recommended that air traffic controllers suspend flights in the vicinity of the volcano, as the ash cloud emanating from its crater was spreading quickly.

The 3,760 m-tall (12,336 ft) Fuego is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes.

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