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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tropical Storm Bonnie leaves 1 dead and damage in El Salvador

Tropical Storm Bonnie, which is moving through the Pacific of Central America, claimed the life of one person on Saturday in El Salvador where it also knocked down trees, flooded streets, some hospitals and homes, while authorities carried out evacuations and rescues.

“We attended to Maura Carolina Beltran, 24 years old, she died when she was swept away by a storm surge from a culvert in a community in San Martin,” some 15 km east of San Salvador, Comandos de Salvamento spokesman Herbert Vanegas told AFP.

Tropical Storm Bonnie remains close to the Salvadoran coasts, being located 270 km south of San Salvador, informed the Ministry of Environment. According to the latest update from the US National Hurricane Center (CNH), it is moving westward at 28 km/h, with winds of 95 km/h.

The Minister of the Interior, Juan Carlos Bidegaín, stated that emergencies were faced in several areas of San Salvador, but there were “no deaths, only material losses”.

“We have had more than 250 people affected, we are going to shelter them in the Polideportivo El Polvorín”, south of San Salvador, he emphasized.

In different parts of the Salvadoran capital, there were reports of falling trees and walls, and the force of the floods even dragged and overturned vehicles.

In social networks citizens shared images of the flooding of some hospitals and homes flooded by the accumulation of rainwater.

“Bonnie generated very heavy rains and thunderstorms in the coastal area, volcanic mountain range, and the metropolitan area of San Salvador, with gusts of strong winds and hail in some areas,” detailed the Ministry of Environment.

Army and Civil Protection personnel were mobilized to remove fallen trees in busy streets. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the rains were already easing in El Salvador.

Evacuate in time

The relief agency Green Cross of El Salvador, reported the collapse of at least one house and the flooding of some rivers, but so far they do not represent an imminent danger.

The director of Civil Protection, Luis Alonso Amaya, declared that “the territorial deployment that had already been made has worked perfectly, we have managed to evacuate people; we have activated the shelters in time”.

El Salvador, with a scarce 20,742 km2 and 6.7 million inhabitants, has 87% of its territory vulnerable to floods and landslides. 

Bonnie, which formed in the Caribbean, made landfall Friday night between Nicaragua and Costa Rica without leaving major damage, according to preliminary reports. It left the mainland Saturday for the Pacific where it has generated heavy rains.

“As Bonnie advances over the Pacific, rains associated with the outer bands” will affect northwestern Costa Rica, southwestern Nicaragua and southern El Salvador through tonight (Saturday), the CNH detailed.

“This rain may cause some instances of flash flooding and landslides throughout the region,” it specified.

Bonnie is expected to continue to parallel the coast of Central America over the next few days. “Further strengthening is forecast, and Bonnie is expected to become a hurricane by Monday,” when it will be off Mexico, according to the CNH.

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