Tropical Storm Stan hits Central America

Heavy rains and floods from Tropical Storm Stan hit Central America over the weekend, killing 15 in El Salvador, four in Guatemala and four in Honduras, authorities said on Monday.

In El Salvador, the driving rain sparked a number of mudslides that led the government to declare a national ”red alert”, Interior Minister Rene Figueroa said.

”We regret the deaths of 15 Salvadorans following the rains,” the minister said.

In San Marcos, south-east of San Salvador, five members of the same family died, including three children. The other 10 deaths were reported in the villages of Chaparral and Ateos, 25km west of the capital.

In Guatemala, four died and authorities declared a state of emergency in five departments on the country’s southern coast as rivers dotted with isolated villages rapidly rose.

A pregnant woman, her son and nephew died on Sunday when a mudslide buried their house about 250km west of Guatemala City. On Saturday, south-east of the capital, a man drowned after flood waters swept his vehicle away.

Heavy rained drenched Honduras for days, killing three children and an adult in various parts of the country. A boy died when rain caused a wall to collapse, a man was swept away by a swollen river and two children were killed in a mudslide. In addition, a soldier was reported missing when flood waters carried away his vehicle.

Stan swept westward across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday and entered the Gulf of Mexico. It is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall again early on Wednesday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre said. — Sapa-AFP

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