Panama City (AFP) Dec 9, 2010
The heaviest rains in at least a decade has left hundreds dead in Colombia, Venezuela and Panama, caused millions of dollars in damages and forced a rare 17-hour closure of the Panama Canal, officials said.
Rescuers said Thursday they have recovered 55 bodies out of 121 believed to be buried alive in a massive weekend mudslide in northwestern Colombia. The Antioquia department governor's spokesman Jorge Salazar said 23 of the victims were children.
Many of the children had participated in celebrations for their first communion near Colombia's second-largest city of Medellin.
The yearly rainy season has been exacerbated by a La Nina weather phenomenon, in which cooler-than-normal water circulates in the Pacific Ocean around the equator.
In Venezuela to the east, driving rains began receding after causing floods and cave-ins that have killed at least 35 people over the past week and left 124,000 homeless. Another six people are still missing.
Earlier in the season, La Nina's deadly havoc killed some 263 people in Guatemala and over 130 in Mexico.
Hundreds of rescue workers in Colombia battled a narrowing time window to find people still alive under the mud, combing through the mess with sniffer dogs and heavy machinery to search for the remaining 66 missing. Authorities had initially estimated that up to 200 people were caught in the avalanche.
So far this year, the rains in Colombia have left 206 people dead, while 119 remain missing and 1.7 million were affected. Over 2,000 homes were destroyed and 275,000 were damaged, according to the latest official figures.
The leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group proposed a truce with President Juan Manuel Santos's government so that disaster response work could proceed unhindered.
In neighboring Panama, recent floods from heavy rains have collapsed bridges, destroyed homes, cut off several communities and caused disruptions to electrical and water supply.
Authorities updated the toll to 10 from the downpours that left some 4,000 people homeless.
"We will declare a state of national emergency and we will begin to bring aid and assistance to all populations that have had problems," President Ricardo Martinelli told reporters.
"These are the fiercest rains in Panamanian history since records began. Some people say it has not rained so much in the past 5,000 years."
The Panama Canal reopened earlier Thursday after a suspension due to heavy rains that swelled nearby lakes flowing into the key transport route, which handles five percent of global trade.
It was the first time the entire canal was closed since the 1989 US invasion of the Central American nation.
The 80-kilometer (50-mile) man-made artery links the Atlantic to the Pacific, with around 40 ships passing through the canal each day.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest
Thousands evacuated, stranded by Australian floods
Sydney (AFP) Dec 6, 2010
Thousands of Australians were evacuated from their homes or stranded as surging floodwaters swamped towns in the area's worst deluge in 36 years, officials said Monday. Parts of south-eastern New South Wales were declared natural disaster areas as swollen rivers spilled into the streets and water levels continued to rise, forcing the closure of major highways, state Premier Kristina Keneally ... read more
Flood-swept Czech town turns disaster into development|
Facebook co-founders pledge wealth to charity
Britain to outsource search-and-rescue ops
Colombia mudslide toll rises to 46 dead
World's First Microlaser Emitting In 3-D
EU slaps huge fine on South Korea, Taiwan LCD cartel
Google says 300,000 Android phones activated daily
High hopes and hard realities for India's 35-dollar computer
Conditioning Reefs For The Future
Mobile 'revolution' eases Pacific isolation, poverty
EU 'loophole' allows shark finning
Laos inaugurates controversial hydropower dam
Greenland Ice Sheet Flow Driven By Short-Term Weather Extremes Not Gradual Warming
It's Time For Europe To Step Up Research In The Polar Regions
Glaciers melting fastest in South America, Alaska: UN
New Research Shows Rivers Cut Deep Notches In The Alps' Broad Glacial Valleys
New Discovery About How Flowering Time Of Plants Can Be Controlled
Argentine shepherds, farmers protect forests from soy
Plants Remember Winter To Bloom In Spring With Help Of Special Molecule
Shanghai halts sale of suspected 'dyed' oranges: report
Latin America counts the cost after deadly rains
More than 11,000 people evacuated in Albania floods
Ecuador downgrades active volcano warning
Rains leave rising death toll in Colombia, Venezuela
Gbagbo's rivals demand backing of I.Coast military
Leaked US cable says China has 'no morals' in Africa
Sudan heads toward breakup
Conservationists seek legal freeze of Tanzania road
Lost Civilization Under Persian Gulf
Babies' Biological Clocks Dramatically Affected By Birth Light Cycle
Seeing The World All Depends On Differen Visual Minds
Apes Unwilling To Gamble When Odds Are Uncertain
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|