Floods and landslides overwhelm Venezuela

MACUTO, Venezuela (HPD) — Venezuelan authorities announced Friday that around 14,000 families have been affected by the heavy rains, floods and landslides that have plagued the South American country for four weeks.

The Minister of Interior Relations, Admiral in Chief Remigio Ceballos, declared that 199 of 335 municipalities have been affected and 965 families transferred to shelters. According to official figures, some 24,000 homes have suffered moderate to severe damage.

Some areas of the Venezuelan capital and the neighboring coastal state of La Guaira have also been affected, where inhabitants still tremble when they remember the floods and landslides that killed between 6,000 and 10,000 people in 1999.

“These were very difficult hours because most of the residents of this building are survivors of the tragedy of 1999,” Felipe Corro Núñez, 59, told The Associated Press, noting that fortunately the riverbed, which runs alongside of the building where his mother lives, was recently cleaned. However, he added, that the impetuous current of the waters demolished one of the walls of the building and the mud covered at least ten vehicles and the swimming pool, among other areas of the building.

The authorities remain on alert and attend to the neighborhoods of La Guaira, particularly in the vicinity of Macuto and Caraballeda, towns that were devastated by avalanches in 1999.

No deaths or disappearances have been reported as a result of the overflow of the San Julián de Caraballeda river, among other water currents in the nearby Macuto sector, which flow down the mountain range, a sector where the rains have been copious, said the governor of La Guaira, José Alejandro Terán, in statements broadcast by state television. Three buildings were evacuated due to flooding, it was reported.

The National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology reported that rainfall in October exceeded the historical levels for the tenth month of the year in Venezuela by 60%.

At least another 36 hours of torrential rains are expected as a result of the passage of tropical wave 49 of the season off the Caribbean coast of Venezuela, which has caused rainfall, flooding and material damage in 14 of the 23 states.

The rains in Venezuela have left at least 61 dead in October, 54 of them in the avalanches of October 8 in Las Tejerías de Santos Michelena, an agro-industrial municipality in the state of Aragua, some 87 kilometers southwest of Caracas, according to figures. officers.

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