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Tropical storm leaves at least 115 dead in Central America

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • At least 115 dead in three Central American nations
  • Guatemala hit hardest with at least 83 dead
  • First named storm of the Pacific hurricane season
  • Atlantic hurricane season starts Tuesday
RELATED TOPICS
  • Guatemala
  • El Salvador
  • Honduras

(CNN) -- At least 115 people have died after a tropical storm battered Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador over the weekend, officials in those countries reported.

Guatemala was hit hardest, with at least 92 deaths, 54 people missing and 59 injured, emergency officials said. Nearly 112,000 people have been evacuated and more than 29,000 are living in temporary shelters, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said in an address to the nation late Sunday.

The devastation has been widespread throughout Guatemala with mudslides destroying homes and buildings and burying some victims. At least nine rivers have dramatically higher levels and 13 bridges have collapsed, the nation's emergency services said.

In the northern part of Guatemala City, the downpour created a giant sinkhole that swallowed up a space larger than the area of a street intersection. Residents told CNN that a three-story building and a house fell into the hole.

A local newspaper reported that a private security guard was killed when the sinkhole opened up, but authorities had not confirmed the fatality. Residents said that a poor sewage drainage system underground was to blame for the sinkhole. A similar hole opened up nearby last year, they said.

Classes have been canceled this week throughout the nation.

In Honduras, where 14 people have died, President Porfirio Lobo declared a state of emergency Sunday.

Nearly 3,500 people have been evacuated from their homes and nearly 3,300 are living in shelters, the Honduran emergency agency said Monday. More than 140 homes have been destroyed and another 700 have been damaged, the Permanent Commission for Emergencies reported.

The situation in El Salvador, where nine people died, was improving Monday, officials said. The rain stopped Sunday afternoon and river levels were beginning to diminish, officials said. Classes nationwide remained canceled, however, until further notice.

More rain was possibly forecast for Monday, though, and Salvadoran officials said they were closely monitoring the situation.

Agatha was demoted from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Saturday night and lost its status as a depression Sunday evening.

It was the first named storm for the Pacific hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season starts Tuesday.

 
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