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Tuesday, September 17 2019 @ 08:44 pm EDT

More Than 5,000 Affected By Heavy Rains, Flooding, and Mudslides

Weather More than 5,000 people have been affected (2,212 in the province of Colon and 3,000 in the province of Cocle) by two mudslides, one in Salamanca and another in Achiote. Additionally, 545 homes have been damaged, the Colon Free Trade Zone has lost more than $100 million dollars in business, and Transístmica between Panama City and Colon has been closed as the result of heavy rainfall, flooding, and mudslides. Yesterday, there was additional structural damage in Colon with the fall of two bridges that are already being repaired, said the director of the National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc), Arturo Alvarado. He added that the presence on Thursday night of the storm "Sean", located between Cuba and the United States, aggravated the situation on the Atlantic coast and part of the province of Cocle. In the latter province the rains brought down trees and left those living in the mountainous area incommunicado for several hours. The greatest damage occurred in the area of Altos de la Mesa, where there was a landslide that affected some 3,000 residents. Sectors such as Río Indio Arriba, Río Indio Centro and Jordanal have remained isolated for several hours, while farmers in the sector have not been able to take their goods to markets due to the poor condition of the road. Meanwhile, the authorities indicated that the rains will persist in the coming days.

Reservoirs of the Canal, At Maximum Levels: The Gatun and Alajuela reservoirs have reached their peak levels, according to the Panama Canal Authority. Although the flow of water is used in electricity generation, the organization warned the public that, depending on weather conditions, they will have to conduct preventative spills of water through the Gatun and Madden dams. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: November is the rainiest month in Panama. These kinds of events happen every year. Storms and cold fronts can come over the country and then stall, dumping unbelievable amounts of water on relatively small areas, quickly overcoming the natural ability to drain the water away. The rain-soaked earth becomes water logged and unstable, resulting in mudslides. Last year the mudslides that fell into the Alajuela reservoir screwed up the supply of drinking water in Panama City for months.

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