The Two-Way
10:59 am
Wed October 19, 2011

More Than 90 Dead, Thousands Displaced In Central American Floods

For the past week, the rain across Central America has been relentless. The AFP reports that some places have received 47 inches over the course of a week.

The floods have killed nearly 100 people and displaced 700,000. The AFP has more:

The unusually heavy rainfall came as the region was pounded from one weather system from the Pacific and another from the Caribbean.

El Salvador's President Mauricio Funes warned late Monday that his country was facing a "major emergency," with 32 dead, three missing and some 32,000 people evacuated, saying the rainfall exceeded that caused by past hurricanes.

"The intensity of the rainfall, the duration of the phenomenon and the extent of the affected territory presents us with a major emergency," he said.

Another 13 deaths were reported in Honduras and eight in Nicaragua, according to local officials, with the overall toll expected to rise as reports from isolated villages begin to trickle in.

The floods also extend south into Costa Rica and north into Guatemala. The Los Angeles Times spoke to Angel Arnaiz Quintana, a priest from the Usultan region of El Salvador, who said "damage was extensive, hundreds of people in his community were stranded without food, and disease was spreading." He compared the flood waters to a tsunami.

AFP adds that humantarian aid is on its way:

Aid has already begun pouring in from Taiwan, Spain, the United States, Venezuela and a host of other countries, Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez told a press conference, adding that Taipei had donated some $300,000 in flood relief.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.