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Rescuers work in the place where the current of a river swept away several houses at Dios es Fiel shantytown, an annex of the Kjell Laugerud colony in Guatemla City, on Sept. 25,JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Heavy rains caused a flash flood in Guatemala’s capital early Monday sweeping several humble homes into a river and leaving at least six people dead and 12 missing, including 10 minors.

Guatemala’s National Disaster Reduction Coordinator said in a statement Monday that the death toll had risen to six, including a young girl, along with 12 people missing.

The 5-year-old girl was recovered by firefighters partially buried in debris and mud some 3 miles (5 kilometres) down the Naranjo river.

Guatemala City officials explained in a news conference later Monday that garbage and other debris had effectively dammed the Naranjo river upstream causing water to pool in the overnight downpour. When the dam broke it unleashed a torrent that swept away precarious homes closest to the water’s edge.

Officials said residents of the neighbourhood had been warned repeatedly to move from the area because of the flood risk.

Rushing water away six homes and the families who lived in them around 2 a.m. Around 5 a.m. the firefighters announced they would start a search.

Images provided by rescuers showed evidence of domestic life strewn in mud along the river bank. The military set up a command centre to oversee the rescue effort.

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