GUATEMALA CITY (HPD) — At least 19 deaths, five of them in Guatemala, four in Honduras, nine in El Salvador, and thousands of victims have left the passage through Central America of storm Julia.
In the Guatemalan town of Panzós Alta Verapaz, in the north-central part of the country, five people perished when they were buried by a landslide after a hillside detachment on their houses, authorities reported Monday.
Until now, Julia’s passage through Guatemala has left 153,034 affected and 1,600 homeless.
The Guatemalan government is preparing to declare a state of calamity throughout the territory, with which it is allowed to limit constitutional guarantees such as locomotion and establish sanitary cordons, as well as centralize aid.
“The damage that is being caused by Julia is copious, we expect very heavy rains,” President Alejandro Giammattei explained through his social networks.
The government ordered the deployment of civil and military personnel to support the victims and firefighters and the Red Cross are in the affected areas supporting the evacuation of hundreds of people. The Ministry of Education canceled classes and deported flights from the United States and Mexico to the Central American country were suspended until Wednesday.
According to official data from the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred) of Guatemala, the storm will cross the entire country towards the south of Mexico.
In El Salvador, it made landfall on Sunday with heavy downpours and sustained winds of 70 kilometers per hour that caused rivers to overflow, trees to fall on highways and flooded city streets.
At least five soldiers died underground when the wall of a house collapsed where they were sheltering from the rain in the municipality of Comasagua, where for a week more than 2,000 soldiers and some 500 police officers have participated in a security fence to persecute gang members in the city. zone. Another soldier was injured.
The authorities also located a dead motorcyclist who was dragged by a current in the municipality of Amenia, department of Sonsonate. Next to the man was the motorcycle on which he was traveling.
In the Salvadoran municipality of Guatajiagua, in the east of the country, two people died after the collapse of a wall that destroyed their home, confirmed the National Civil Police.
Meanwhile, in a rural area of the municipality of Caluco, western department of Sonsonate, a 72-year-old man died when a tree fell on his home, the director of Civil Protection, Luis Amaya, reported at a press conference. Two other people were injured in the same incident.
The director of shelters in El Salvador, Josué Garcia, said that 25 of the 80 shelters that have been prepared have been activated and that around 1,000 people are already receiving care in these facilities.
The Salvadoran government deployed thousands of soldiers to support evacuation efforts both in the eastern part of the country and in communities in the capital.
The Salvadoran Congress decreed a national state of emergency for 15 days on Saturday night and empowered Civil Protection to carry out mandatory evacuations of populations at risk. The capital’s international airport restricted some operations, but kept commercial flights active on Monday morning.
In Honduras, firefighters confirmed the rescue in the northern municipality of Choloma of the body of a 22-year-old woman who died on Saturday when she was swept away by the current of a river that swelled due to heavy rains. Likewise, the municipal authorities confirmed to HPD the death of three people, a couple and a 4-year-old girl, when a canoe capsized in the northern municipality of Brus Laguna.
In Nicaragua, Monday dawned clear and sunny in most of the affected regions, although it continued to rain in the departments of León and Chinandega, the last areas hit by Julia when leaving the national territory.
The mayor of the northern department of Jinotega, Leónidas Centeno, reported that a 24-year-old man died on Sunday in the community of Las Latas when a tree fell on him.
The government maintains the state of red alert and for this Monday ordered to suspend classes in all public and private schools, colleges and universities. He also asked the population to take precautions due to the floods caused by the rain and the overflow of at least 78 rivers in different areas of the country.
The authorities have not offered a balance on the damage that occurred in the Caribbean town of Laguna de Perlas, where the hurricane hit with all its force early Sunday morning and was left without power and totally cut off.
In the Caribbean town of Bluefields, many people woke up repairing the roofs of their homes and clearing streets covered with logs and garbage. Residents said that the city was left without power because several trees fell on the power lines and the service has not been restored so far.
Julia’s passage through Colombia also wreaked havoc in the north of the country due to heavy rains and gusty winds, especially in the department of La Guajira, which borders the Caribbean Sea to the north and Venezuela to the east, where President Gustavo Petro will arrive on Monday to assess the damage.
In La Guajira, nearly 5,000 people were affected by the floods and a public calamity was declared in the department.
In Atlántico, a department located in the north of Colombia, there were also floods in several towns and more than 1,000 victims, according to local authorities.
Journalist Marcos Alemán reported from El Salvador. HPD journalists Gabriela Selser in Nicaragua, Marlon González in Honduras, and Astrid Suarez in Colombia collaborated on this story.