First storm of the season kills 99 in Central America

Posted By: Selma Al-Faqih on May 31, 2010 8:37 am

Agatha, the first named storm of 2010 Pacific hurricane season, has killed at least 99 people, with dozens missing.


More than three feet of rain dumped down on Guatemala and El Salvador on Saturday causing fatal landslides, flooding rivers and road blockages.   The storm stretched from southern Mexico to nearly Nicaragua.  Rescue workers are trying to clear debris off the roads to reach out lying communities. Government disaster relief spokesman David de Leon said 82 people were killed in the poor Central American country as rains unleashed lethal landslides across the country. 8 deaths reported in Honduras.  Another 53 people were reported missing, as reports AP.


One survivor said he had nothing left but his two dogs.  It was also reported that a giant boulder loosened by the rains, crushed a home, killing 4, including 2 children.


112,000 people have been evacuated in Guatemala alone.  Guatemala and El Salvador are both concerned about possible damage to their coffee crops. Some crops were already hit by last weeks Pacaya volcano. Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries. Coffee is one of its three largest exports, which also include bananas and sugar. “The humidity during and after the storm causes fungus in the plants. That’s the problem,” he told Reuters.


The rains have lessened, but authorities have warned residents there could be more mudslides.


There is skiing in Central America, but many volcanoes are active so research well before a trip. Some people ‘surf’ down volcanos covered in ash.  This mount Pacaya, which erupts often.



(Image: Surfing down a cinder field, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from cyprien’s photostream)