San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Heavy rains pummel Central America, at least 19 dead

At least 19 people were killed when torrential rains slammed large swaths of Central America, officials said Wednesday, with more than 40,000 people hit by flooding and landslides.

Guatemala was worst hit by the heavy rains brought by tropical depression “12-E,” with President Alvaro Colom telling reporters at least 13 people were killed, including four people who were electrocuted in floods.

The other victims were claimed by flooding from swollen rivers and landslides, said Colom, urging travelers to be cautious on roads in danger of being washed away.

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission placed a yellow alert for people living on the north and central Pacific coast. Those living on the south Pacific, Central Valley and northern Caribbean are on green alert. Temporary emergency shelters set up on the Pacific coast are housing 55 people. 

Two deaths were recorded in neighboring El Salvador, and to the south in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega announced the deaths of four people.

The heavy rains brought by tropical depression have soaked the region since Monday and will likely continue for another 48 hours, Colom warned, calling on governors of his country’s 22 departments to stay on high alert.

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