SAN SALVADOR: The death toll from rains and mudslides across Central America rose on Sunday to at least 80, with El Salvador suffering the most fatalities at 32 and poor weather due to continue, officials said.
International highways have been washed out, villages isolated and thousands of families have lost homes and crops in a region that the United Nations has classified as one of the most affected by climate change.
Hardest hit were El Salvador, with at least 32 dead after five days of intense rains unleashed by a stubbornly persistent tropical depression, and Guatemala, where 28 people were reported dead and two others were missing.
President Mauricio Funes said in a message to the nation that El Salvador was “really being put to the test,” adding that more than 20,000 people had been evacuated and entire communities had been cut off due to unpassable roads.
“We’ve got a very complicated situation,” said the country’s Environment Minister Herman Rosa Chavez, who said 15 centimetres of rain over a 12-hour period had made the country’s mountainous terrain unstable.