Toll in storm Agatha rises to 100 (Third Lead)

Monday, May 31, 2010

GUATEMALA CITY/TEGUCIGALPA - Heavy rain caused by tropical storm Agatha has killed almost 100 people in Central America, where tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated over the weekend because of flooding.

In Guatemala, which has been worst affected by the rains, 82 people had died, President Alvaro Colom was quoted as saying Sunday by the newspaper La Prensa Libre. Almost 60 people were injured, he said.

More than 100,000 people were evacuated from endangered areas in Guatemala. Mudslides killed 49 people in the province of Chimaltenango.

Nine people died in El Salvador and four in Honduras.

The authorities of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala also reported serious damage Sunday to infrastructure as a result of the storm, which had by then been degraded to a tropical depression.

Agatha is the first named storm of this year’s Pacific hurricane season.

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes declared a state of emergency in his country Sunday as did Honduran President Porfirio Lobo.

In El Salvador, the storm was confirmed to have claimed nine lives and caused damage to the property of more than 8,100 people as well as destroying bridges, roads, schools and health centres.

In Honduras, nine people were missing and the death toll there could go higher, civil protection officials said Sunday.

Colom on Sunday extended a state of national emergency and appealed for international help after a series of natural disasters left the country reeling.

Heavy rains since Thursday have caused mudslides and overflowing rivers.

Guatemala’s Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology warned that it would continue to rain until Tuesday.

According to the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami, the hurricane travelled along Guatemala’s Pacific coast and then moved on land toward the north of the country.

Rainfall caused by the hurricane also affected southern Mexico.

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