Storms kill 55 in Mexico, C. America

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VOV News English - 38 month(s) ago 9 readings

The death toll in Mexico and Central America climbed to 55 on October 15 as torrential rain storms continued, causing deadly mudslides and massive flooding.

More than 250,000 people were affected across the region -- 62,700 in Mexico, 118,704 in Guatemala, about 60,000 in El Salvador, 7,862 in Honduras and 4,463 in Nicaragua.

Maximum nationwide alerts were maintained in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, while disaster prevention authorities worked against the clock to evacuate thousands of people from the most vulnerable regions ahead of the rain which had been forecast for the upcoming days.

The continuing presence of a storm system over southern Mexico "is expected to produce locally heavy rains over the Yucatan peninsula, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands during the next couple of days," the US National Hurricane Center said.

By October 15, civil protection authorities had evacuated over 17,700 people in the five countries worst hit by the ongoing torrential rains caused last week by Hurricane Jova, Hurricane Irwin, Tropical Depression 12-E and two other independent storm systems.

Guatemala's death toll rose to 23, after one reported missing was found dead, and the country's National Coordinating Agency for Disaster Reduction (Conred) raised the number of affected people to as many as 118,704 from 55,000 on October 14.

In El Salvador, President Mauricio Funes issued a special emergency decree, saying the primary task is to "safeguard and protect" the public against the storms and provide them with support.

From the beginning, the Civil Protection Direction and other governmental organizations have been meeting the needs of those affected, Funes said, adding that thanks to the quick response, there was a lot less damage and loss of lives.

However, the death toll in El Salvador rose by one to a total of seven, while the number in the neighboring Honduras rose to 10 as the continuous rains caused flooding in over 50 percent of southern Honduras, the Permanent Contingency Commission (Copeco) said.

In Nicaragua, the death toll remained unchanged at eight, while in Mexico, the daily El Universal reported a death toll of 10, up from eight previously.

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