Heavy rains claim 84 lives

2011-10-18 08:12

San Salvador - A week of heavy rains across Central America have caused landslides, floods and bridge collapses that have left at least 84 people dead, authorities said on Monday. Nine others are missing.

El Salvador's director of civil protection, Jorge Melendez, said the rain will continue until at least Wednesday because of the presence of two low pressure systems in the area.

The amount of rain over the last seven days exceeds the cumulative record of Hurricane Mitch, which devastated the region in 1998, killing 11 000 people, Melendez said.

El Salvador and Nicaragua leaders declared natural disasters on Monday.

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom reached out to congress to speed budget decisions to funnel money for the affected.

In El Salvador, 32 people have been killed because of the rains, while Guatemala added 31 fatalities. Another 13 people were killed in Honduras, and Nicaragua's First Lady and spokesman Rosario Murillo said eight have died in Nicaragua.

The rains have affected about 250 000 people. Thousands of them were staying in shelters.