Tue, June 01, 2010
World > Americas

Central America storm deaths rise to 150 as int'l aid flows

2010-06-01 10:15:41 GMT2010-06-01 18:15:41 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A sinkhole caused by the rains is seen in Guatemala City, capital of Guatemala, May 30, 2010. The death toll caused by storm Agatha in Guatemala has risen to 73, the country's disaster relief authority spokesman David de Leon said on Sunday. (Xinhua Photo)

Rescuers help resident evacuating in Izabal City, capital of Izabal Province, Guatemala, May 30, 2010. The death toll caused by storm Agatha in Guatemala has risen to 73, the country's disaster relief authority spokesman David de Leon said on Sunday. (Xinhua Photo)

GUATEMALA CITY, June 1 (Xinhua) -- At least 150 people have been killed in Tropical Storm Agatha, which hit Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador on the weekend.

The death toll in Guatemala rose to 123 on Monday, according to the National Coordinating Committee for the Disaster Reduction (Conred).

The number of missing people also rose to 62 and more than 151,000 people have been evacuated. A further 89,656 people considered at risk and 35,674 were taken to temporary shelters.

Agatha whipped Guatemala for 18 hours during the weekend, damaging at least 11,000 buildings. Conred said the numbers of casualties was expected to rise further.

The first named storm of the current Pacific hurricane season, which typically starts in June, made landfall in Guatemala with winds of about 70 km per hour on Saturday before quickly weakening to become a tropical depression.

Honduras, the second worst hit country, suffered from the heavy rain and mudslides triggered by the storm, and has recorded 17 deaths and nine people missing.

Some 52 communication infrastructures were destroyed, and 675 houses and 11 bridges collapsed in the country. The storm also caused 3,227 people to be evacuated and many schools closed.

In El Salvador, Agatha killed 10 people, and 8,717 others were evacuated, the Civil Protection Directorate said Monday. Director Jorge Melendez said the storm also brought about 188 landslides and 41 floodings and created 39 new gullies.

The Public Works Ministry reported two collapsed bridges, including the one connecting El Salvador with Guatemala.

One of the areas at more risk is Juayua municipality in Sonsonate department, where the local authorities established shelters for people.

The whole country has maintained a state of emergency, though Tropical Storm Agatha has been degraded to tropical depression

Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Monday expressed condolences to the victims of the tropical storm, saying the OAS would be willing to provide help for the storm-sticken countries.

The United States announced Monday it would donate 112,000 U.S. dollars as humanitarian aid, and dispatch rescue and search helicopters to Guatemala.

The money, donated by the U.S. Agency of International Development and the aid assistance program of the South Command, would be used for food and fuel for the emergency vehicles, and purchase of sanitary equipment and supplies, among other things.

The World Bank announced it would offer an emergency loan of 85 million dollars to Guatemala. It also offered technical assistance to evaluate the damage and disasters and reconstruction management in the Latin American country.

The French government has also offered its aid to Guatemala.

The Colombian government was offering aid to all Central American governments that have been struck by the storm, the nation's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Spain's Red Cross has sent 10,000 euros (about 12,000 U.S. dollars) from its emergency fund to Guatemala, and the same to El Salvador, Guatemalan media said Monday.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry expressed its support Monday and lamented the death and material loss caused by the tropical storm in Honduras.

Guatemala's Red Cross has activated its operations center and its Salvadorean counterpart is mobilizing evacuation specialists.

The Guatemalan government has also opened 40 gathering centers in the country to receive food, blankets and other aid.

Add Your Comments:

Your Name:
Your Country:
(English Only)
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.

You might also be interested in: