SAN SALVADOR – Central Americathis week returned to calm after last weekend’sbrief scare presented by HurricaneAdrián, which was downgraded to a tropicalstorm shortly after reaching land lastThursday.No one was killed by the storm, eventhough it initially had been compared toHurricane Mitch, which in 1998 causedmore than 10,000 deaths and $5.8 billion indamages throughout Central America.Salvadoran President Elías “Tony”Saca was quick to congratulate his governmentfor taking swift preventive measures– such as declaring a state of emergency –to help avoid a tragedy.“Adrián,” he said during his Sundayradio address; “demonstrates that we cansuccessfully confront these situations andthat we are capable of organizing ourselves,which was possible thanks to thepreventive measures we took 48 hours inanticipation.”Others, meanwhile, are thanking Godmore than Congress.“This wasn’t an act of good luck, it wasan act of God,” said one Salvadoran policeofficer. “If Adrián had arrived as a hurricane,we would be collecting the dead rightnow.”El Salvador was hit hardest by thestorm, and was forced to evacuate 29,500people to temporary shelters and suspendschool. But after 24 hours of heavy rains,the sun began to shine and the countrystarted to dry out, without serious reportsof damage.Still, the storm was estimated to cost ElSalvador $12 million in lost production.The heavy rains also pelted neighboringcountries, especially Honduras andNicaragua. With the exception of severalhundred flooded homes in at-risk neighborhoods,no serious damage or injurieswere reported.
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