Floods death toll rises in Central America

Storm-ravaged Guatemala declares "state of calamity", while deaths also reported in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

    Many people were forced to abandon their homes as heavy rain hits Central America [EPA]

    At least 45 people have died in Central America as storms, floods and mudslides forced thousands to abandon their homes and trapped many more, authorities said on Saturday.

    A tropical depression hit the region early on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and lightning strikes and causing chaos in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua

    Many areas were cut off as the rain inundated villages and clogged roads.

    The destructive weather system that bore down from the Pacific killed 23 in Guatemala, and nine in Honduras, two of whom were struck by lightning, emergency services said.

    In video

    The storm killed 23 in Guatemala as President Alvaro Colom declared a "state of calamity" 

    In Guatemala, President Alvaro Colom declared a "state of calamity", as a fleet of planes flown by volunteer pilots transported supplies to the country's storm-hit Pacific coast, where many people have been trapped without food and fresh water for days.

    Hundreds were stranded on the roofs of their homes in Honduras, especially in the southern regions of Choluteca and Valle, local emergency officials said.

    In El Salvador, where seven people were killed, President Mauricio Funes declared a state of emergency.

    At least seven others died and thousands more were evacuated in Nicaragua.

    No deaths were reported in Costa Rica, although dozens of families were evacuated from communities on the Pacific coast and the capital, San Jose.

    Strong rain continued to fall in parts of Honduras and Guatemala on Saturday, while precipitation was easing in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

    At least four people also died in Mexico earlier in the week when Category 2 Hurricane Jova struck from the Pacific, forcing the country's busiest port to close.

    The main cargo port of Manzanillo later re-opened.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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