At least 86 people are dead after the first named storm of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season, Agatha, hit the Central American nation of Guatemala and the borders it shares with Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras, according to Reuters
Guatemala’s emergency services spokesperson David de Leon said the authorities are investigating 20 other reports of deaths and also said that more than 74,000 people have fled their homes.
Mudslides have wiped out homes, trees and people are finding bodies in their neighborhoods. Rescue teams are working frantically to restore communications with emergency services and attempting to recover bodies.
“Many places are cut off but it appears the weather will improve a bit today and we will be able to airlift supplies to those places. The road network is badly damaged,” said Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, who earlier this week declared
a state of emergency in several parts of the country.
The intense rainfall forced debris to cover the roads, which cut-off access to dozens of communities. The state of the country’s coffee crop, including El Salvador’s, has caused concern for business owners, residents and government officials, reports BBC News
reports that the President has also requested international aid during a press conference because both natural disasters have seriously affected the country. Colom described the disasters as “very serious” and a “national tragedy.”
El Salvador President Mauricio Funes announced that nine people were killed and more than 9,000 people have fled to shelters.