SAN SALVADOR – Violent storms that tore through Central America in October killed 123 people and caused $2 billion in damages, according to a report by regional experts.
The report was put together by the UN-backed Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) and presented late last Wednesday at a meeting with representatives from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Aside from those killed, “the greatest damage was caused to the transportation and communications infrastructure,” said CEPAL’s Ricardo Zapata.
El Salvador suffered most of the weather damage, followed by Nicaragua.
Agriculture, livestock and fisheries were most affected in Honduras, while transportation and water supply were severely hampered in Nicaragua. Costa Rica suffered serious road damage.
The amount of damage from the heavy rains, which triggered landslides and caused floods that swept away bridges and destroyed roads, was not detailed by country in the report.
Heavy rains pounded the region in October
The storm’s main impact will be cumulative, the report said, as huge swathes of farmland where beans, rice and corn – the regional dietary staples – were grown have been destroyed and could lead to long-term food shortages. Health authorities have also warned of virus outbreaks in the region.
In Central America, annual losses due to natural disasters normally range between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.