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May 31, 2010
Volcanos and storms ravage Central and South America
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Flooding and landslides from the season's first tropical storm have killed at least 144 people and left thousands homeless in Central America, officials said Monday. Dozens of people are still missing and emergency crews are struggling to reach isolated communities cut off by washed-out roads and collapsed bridges caused by Tropical Storm Agatha. In all some 110,000 people were evacuated in Guatemala.
Thousands more have fled their homes in neighboring Honduras, where the death toll rose to 15 even as meteorologists predicted three more days of rain. In El Salvador, at least 179 landslides have been reported and 11,000 people were evacuated. The death toll was nine, President Mauricio Funes said. Agatha made landfall near the Guatemala-Mexico border Saturday as a tropical storm with winds up to 45 mph (75 kph). It dissipated the following day over the mountains of western Guatemala. Rescue efforts in Guatemala have been complicated by a volcanic eruption Thursday near the capital that blanketed parts of the area with ash. Guatemala City's La Aurora airport remained closed Sunday because of heavy ash that fell from last week's eruptions of Pacaya volcano. But volcanic activity had tapered off Sunday, allowing helicopters and small planes to deliver aid to communities still unreachable on washed out roads.
Meanwhile in Ecuador, strong explosions that rocked the Tungurahua volcano eased over the weekend. The explosions had prompted evacuations of 2,500 people. Tungurahua, 95 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of the Ecuadorean capital of Quito, buried entire villages in 2006, killing at least four and leaving thousands homeless. (29 images)

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Boys run during rains in Amatitlan, south of Guatemala City on Saturday May 29, 2010. Guatemalans mopping up after a huge volcanic eruption are bracing for torrential rains that can turn ash into cement-like mud as Tropical Storm Agatha rolls their way. AP / Moises Castillo


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A man carries a child under heavy rains of tropical storm Agatha in Patulul, Guatemala, Saturday, May 29, 2010. AP / Moises Castillo



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Two girls use a plastic to cover themselves from heavy rains caused by tropical storm Agatha in Patulul, Guatemala, Saturday, May 29, 2010. AP / Moises Castillo



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In this photo released by Guatemala's Presidency on Monday May 31, 2010, a sinkhole covers a street intersection in downtown Guatemala City, Monday May 31, 2010. A day earlier authorities blamed the heavy rains caused by tropical storm Agatha as the cause of the crater that swallowed a a three-story building but now say they will be conducting further studies to determine the cause. AP / Luis Echeverria



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People try to cross the overflowed Huiza River as others look from a damaged bridge in La Libertad, 40 km south of San Salvador. An orange alert was issued by the Salvadorean goverment on Saturday due to heavy rains, as tropical storm Agatha already killed one person, authorities said. AFP / Getty Images / Jose Cabezas



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A child leaves the flood damaged goods store owned by his parents after the passing of tropical storm Agatha in the city of Tegucigalpa, Monday May 31, 2010. AP / Fernando Antonio



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A couple remove mud with a bucket the from their home, destroyed by tropical strom Agatha on May 30, 2010, in the village of Los Almendros, in the municipality of Palin, Escuintla 39 km south of Guatemala City. AFP / Getty Images / Johan Ordonez



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People look at a car destroyed by a mudslide caused by tropical storm Agatha on May 30, 2010, in the municipality of Palin, Escuintla, 36 km south of Guatemala City. AFP / Getty Images / Johan Ordonez



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Residents cover the coffins containing bodies of victims, killed during mudslides caused by the tropical storm Agatha, prior to take them to a local cemetery in Santa Apolonia, western Guatemala, Monday May 31, 2010. AP / Moises Castillo



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A child reacts while villagers, unseen, recover the bodies of two people who died after a mudslide, triggered by the tropical storm Agatha, hit the village of Santa Apolonia, western Guatemala, Monday, May 31, 2010. AP / Moises Castillo



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The view from Guadalupe, Ecuador on May 29, 2010, of the Tungurahua volcano in eruption. Tungurahua volcano exploded into action Friday, forcing the evacuation of at least seven villages and closing down the airport and public schools in Guayaquil, the country's largest and most populated city. AFP / Getty Images / Rodrigo Buendia



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The view from Palitahua, Ecuador on May 29, 2010, of the Tungurahua volcano in eruption. AFP / Getty Images / Rodrigo Buendia



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The Tungurahua volcano throws ashes during an explosion in El Santuario, Ecuador, Saturday, May 29, 2010. ) AP / Dolores Ochoa



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Residents from Cotalo, a small town located on the side of Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador, cover their faces with masks to protect from ashes during an eruption Friday, May 28, 2010. AP / Dolores Ochoa



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Children play and laugh while carrying a mattress to a shelter for people who has been evacuated from in Cotalo, central Ecuador, Friday, May 28, 2010. The Tungurahua has been constantly erupting since 1999. ) / Dolores Ochoa



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Evacuees receive aid at an emergency shelter in San Vicente Pacaya, Guatemala, Saturday, May 29, 2010. The Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on Thursday afternoon, blanketing Guatemala City with ash and forcing the closure of the international airport. One television reporter has been killed and thousands of residents from villages closest to the volcano have been evacuated to shelters. AP / Moises Castillo



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A woman enters an ash covered bus in San Vicente Pacaya, Guatemala, Saturday, May 29, 2010. Guatemalans mopping up after a huge volcanic eruption are bracing for torrential rains that can turn ash into cement-like mud as Tropical Storm Agatha rolls their way. AP / Moises Castillo



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Evacuees wait for food distribution at an emergency shelter in San Vicente Pacaya, Guatemala, Saturday, May 29, 2010. The Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on Thursday afternoon, blanketing Guatemala City with ash and forcing the closure of the international airport. AP / Moises Castillo



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A woman cries as she uses a cell phone after the Pacaya volcano erupted in the town of Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010. AP / Moises Castillo



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Volcanic ash blankets houses and a church in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday, May 28, 2010. AP / Moises Castillo



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Pastor Peralta, 79, walks through the streets of Calderas, Guatemala on Friday May 28, 2010 after the Pacaya Volcano erupted a day earlier. AP / Moises Castillo



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A vehicle is parked in a road covered with volcanic ash in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010 after the Pacaya Volcano erupted a day earlier. AP / Moises Castillo



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A man surveys the damage after the roof of his home partially caved in when the Pacaya Volcano erupted a day earlier in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010. AP / Moises Castillo



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Children being evacuated on a school bus from the town of Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010, peer out from ash covered windows after the Pacaya volcano erupted a day earlier. AP / Moises Castillo



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A woman looks at the damaged caused on her home by the eruption of the Pacaya volcano, some 50 km (31 miles) south of Guatemala City, in Las Calderas, San Vicente Pacaya, Guatemala. AFP / Getty Images / Johan Ordonez



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Airport personnel clean the ashes spewed from the Pacaya volcano at the temporaily closed Guatemala City's international airport La Aurora, May 28, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Walter Pena



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Residents of San Vicente Pacaya are evacuated from the area surrounding the Pacaya Volcano, 50 kilometers south of Guatemala City on May 28, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Johan Ordonez



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Men clean their home of ashes from the Pacaya volcano, some 50 km (31 miles) south of Guatemala City, in Las Calderas, San Vicente Pacaya, Guatemala. AFP / Getty Images / Johan Ordonez



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Workers clean an airplane of ashes from the Pacaya volcano, at the airport of Las Calderas, some 50 km (31 miles) south of Guatemala City, in Guatemala on May 28, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Walter Pena



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