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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Torrential Rains Bring Chaos to Central America

The heavy rains that are affecting Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador this week have left seven dead and thousands affected, mainly by flooding and landslides in those countries, civil protection sources reported on Tuesday.

In Honduras, a report from the state Commission for Contingencies (Copeco) detailed that in recent days the rains have left three dead, 35,315 affected, 2,095 evacuated and 1,632 sheltered.

In addition, as a consequence of the intense rainfall, a total of 114 communities are cut off, 15 homes have been destroyed and 823 have been damaged.

The most affected area is the northern Sula Valley, the backbone of the country’s economy, where rising waters in the swollen Ulúa and Chamelecón rivers forced rescue agencies to evacuate thousands of people and take them to shelters or relatives’ homes.

In El Salvador, the Police reported that three people died on Tuesday in the eastern department of San Miguel, after the vehicle they were traveling in “was swept away by a stream of water” in a ravine. Despite the rain and strong gusts of wind in San Miguel, the bodies were rescued, the Police said.

Meanwhile, in Guatemala, the spokesman for the state Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), Rodolfo García, commented that the rains have caused one death, 33,330 affected, 331 sheltered, 34 homes with minor damage and 14 with severe damage.

The floods are mainly recorded in the departments of Izabal, on the Caribbean, and Alta Verapaz (north), he detailed. In addition to the flooding, the rains have caused rivers to overflow, mudflows and landslides that have affected 44 roads in the country.

According to Conred, this rainy season, which runs from May to November, has left 59 dead, 12 missing, 4.2 million affected, 23,007 evacuated and 1,206 sheltered in Guatemala. In addition, in terms of infrastructure, 395 roads have been damaged and five destroyed, 50 bridges have also been affected and 15 destroyed.

In that country, last year the incidents associated with rains left 67 dead, ten missing, 41 injured, 6.2 million people affected and 70,024 evacuated.

In Costa Rica, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) reported on Tuesday “more than 60 incidents due to flooding,” especially in the canton of Cartago, with 400 damaged homes.

Each year, the rainy season leaves dozens and even hundreds of dead in Central America, one of the region’s most vulnerable to climate change.

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