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Central America: Torrential rains kill several people

June 18, 2024

Heavy rains have prompted flooding and landslides in countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala, killing several people. Authorities are working to evacuate and rescue people across the region.

View of a tree that fell during heavy rains and blocked part of a road in Sonsonate, El Salvador
El Salvador has been badly affected with at least five people reported dead after a landslide in the western district of TacubaImage: MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images

Flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains battered Central America on Monday, killing several people in El Salvador and Guatemala.

Videos shared on social media across the region showed flooded streets, families and animals stranded on top of vehicles, and rescuers working to evacuate people.

El Salvador, Guatemala hit hard

El Salvador has been the most affected with at least five people reported dead in a landslide in the western district of Tacuba. Two others were killed in a separate vehicle accident. 

President Nayib Bukele posted on X that he had asked Congress to declare a federal holiday on Tuesday.

Floods and landslides killed four in El Salvador between Friday and Sunday, Civil defense chief Luis Amaya said on Monday.

"If you are asked to evacuate, do it. If you live near a slope, move to a safe area. The number one priority is to be safe," Amaya said in a press conference.

The government has declared a state of emergency and opened shelters across the country. As the forecast continues to show rains, schools will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Guatemalan authorities have shut schools till Thursday.

In Guatemala, a man and a woman were killed by a collapsed wall in the village of Chacaya, authorities have confirmed.

In Ecuador's Tungurahua province, a landslide on a highway killed seven, with several others injured on Monday.

In Honduras, evacuations began as authorities say around 5,000 will be affected due to the rains. 

Every year, dozens of people lose their lives in Central America due to damage caused by heavy rains. Low pressure in Guatemala's western coast and in the Gulf of Mexico are causing torrential rains.

The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans have started their hurricane season. The Atlantic is especially prone to torrential rains due to the La Nina weather pattern and warmer oceans.

tg/jsi (AFP, AP, Reuters)