At least 18 people, including ten children, are missing in Guatemala after a river overflowed following torrential rains and washed away many poor houses in the capital, the Civil Protection Service and the army said today.

The waters of the river washed away houses in the district of Dios El Fiel, under the bridge of El NaranjoRodolfo Garcia, the spokesman for Conred, the National Coordination Agency for Disaster Response, told reporters.

Based on initial information, 18 people are missing and six houses have been heavily damaged. A military spokesman confirmed the number of missing and said searches were continuing to locate them.

Hundreds of huts and poor houses have been built on the banks of this river, despite the prohibitions of the authorities. After Sunday’s heavy rain, houses were buried under tons of water, stones, dirt and rubble, an AFP reporter who went to the area said.