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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Heavy rain floods El Salvador - at least 91 dead

A tropical low pressure system has been trying to organize in the eastern Pacific over the past week. The system never developed into a named storm, but as the week went on, the low pressure center came closer to shore near Central America. On the other side of the isthmus, Hurricane Ida formed and passed over the eastern coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. It is likely that the stronger Ida pulled the Pacific low over land in El Salvador.

Reports are now coming in that all of this rain has resulted mudslides and heavy flooding killing at least 91 people with dozens more unaccounted for.

Government: 91 dead in El Salvador flooding (Associated Press)
El Salvador was slammed by three days of heavy rains from a Pacific coast low-pressure system indirectly related to Hurricane Ida, which brushed the Mexican resort of Cancun Sunday and steamed into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane.

The mountains in El Salvador quickly funneled rain down into populated valleys. Poverty and precarious construction appeared to play a role in the destruction, as homes clinging to steep hillsides quickly fell prey to mudslides.

Scores die in El Salvador floods (BBC News)
At least 91 people have been killed in El Salvador by flooding following days of heavy rain, the government says.

Authorities have declared a state of emergency in five regions, Interior Minister Humberto Centeno said.

Mr Centeno said the capital San Salvador and central San Vicente province were the hardest-hit regions.

Journalist Juan Carlos Barahona told the BBC that San Vicente had almost been completely cut off by landslides and collapsed bridges.

Mr Barahona, of the El Salvador daily La Prensa Grafica, told the BBC that the other worst affected areas were La Libertad, La Paz and Cuscatlan.

Mr Centeno said 60 people were still missing, and about 7,000 more were in shelters.

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