Monday, October 03, 2005

Landslides kill 23 in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador :Heavy rains triggered landslides that killed at least 23 people in El Salvador on Monday, while rising rivers forced the evacuation of dozens of people there and in neighboring Guatemala.Both countries put their Pacific coasts on alert as a tropical weather front swept over Central America, unleashing downpours and causing principal rivers to overflow.In San Marcos, a city south of the capital, a 2 month old infant and two siblings ages 2 and 4 died along with their parents when a wave of dirt swept away their home. In Lourdes, west of the capital, a landslide killed four children and four adults.
Another 10 people, who have not been identified, died in landslides in the nation's central region, authorities said.Salvadoran President Tony Saca declared a nationwide state of emergency and said more than 8,500 people had been forced to evacuate throughout the country, including those in a low-lying neighborhood in the shadow of a hillside in Santa Tecla, just west of the capital, San Salvador.A landslide unleashed after a strong earthquake killed about 400 people in the same area in January 2001.Dozens of towns in Guatemala were cut off by floods as rescue workers tried to identify the number of people affected. No deaths were reported in Guatemala."We are noticing a critical situation in the south where the rivers have overflowed their banks," said Hugo Hernandez, executive secretary of Guatemala's National Center for Disaster Reduction.


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