December 22, 2014
Dozens are missing in El Salvador, where floods and landslides have left at least 124 people dead.
Soldiers and townspeople are digging through rock and debris in a desperate search for survivors, using shovels and sometimes bare hands. Their efforts are being hampered by collapsed walls, boulders and downed power lines blocking heavy machinery.
Days of heavy rains sent mud and boulders rolling down the slopes a volcano before dawn yesterday, burying homes and cars in a town of about 30 miles outside the capital, San Salvador.
One survivor described the slide as "something black, like a huge wave." She climbed on the roof of a neighbor's house without knowing if her 71-year-old mother and two teenage nieces escaped. She later found their bodies in the rubble.
El Salvador's president declared a national emergency. On local television, he said "the images that we have seen today are of a devastated country."
Almost 7,000 people have seen their homes damaged by landslides or cut off by floodwaters.
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