At least 124 killed in El Salvador after rainstorm

November 6, 2009

In El Salvador at least 124 people died, dozens went missing and 7,000 evacuated their homes after intense downpours brought by Hurricane Ida caused floods and mudslides in the Central American country, the government announced Sunday.

President Mauricio Funes declared a national emergency, calling the incident a “grave tragedy” whose damage is “incalculable.”

The provinces affected most by the rains are San Salvador, Cuscatlán, La Libertad, La Paz and San Vicente.

During a televised presidential address, Funes stressed that in the area surrounding San Vicente volcano, authorities reported 355 millimeters of rainfall. “During (Huricane) Mitch, more than 400 millimeters fell in four days. A similar amount this time rained in only four hours,” he said.

The downpours, which intensified during the course of Saturday night and early Sunday morning, also affected several zones of the country´s capital of San Salvador, where – Mayor Normal Quijano told local media – a total of 1,300 people with significant property damage has been tallied.

The National Service for Territorial Studies attributed the rains to a low-pressure system located over the Pacific Ocean that intensified with the passage of Hurricane Ida. On Sunday, the hurricane moved into the Gulf of Mexico.

For updates on Hurricane Ida, visit the U.S. National Hurricane Center´s Web site: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/##IDA.

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