Contributed by: Don WinnerThe Social Development Minister, Guillermo Ferrufino, said this morning that flooding in the western sector affected 590 homes. The Metropolitan Health Director Jorge Hassan said there are 130 homes affected by flooding in Mastranto, making it one of the most affected areas in the Western part of the province of Panama. Therefore, the Government is executing a health operation in this region, involving officials from the Ministry of Health. In order to avoid epidemics fumigation was conducted this morning, and they visited every house to determine what people needed.
Diseases - Hassan said the zone of Mastranto was the most affected in the district of La Chorrera. To avoid diseases they are also visiting the area to search for the bodies of pets that died in these floods. In the Western sector the Ministry of Health has established a clinic to serve the people, because after such floods there are always are cases of dermatitis and cuts from sharp objects such as cans and broken glass. They have already treated 18 people who had skin ailments and cuts with cans. It is anticipated that this afternoon the president, Ricardo Martinelli, will visit the flood-affected area in the west of the province of Panama.
Savings Fund - The Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, said he supports the proposal being put forward to use the money of the Savings Fund of Panama (FAP). "If you ask me my opinion, I would say that the FAP can be used at once," the official said. According to De Lima, this will determine whether the rules established for this fund are adequate. Also, they will see if the money arrives in time to provide solutions to these disasters, he said. De Lima said that this implementation would entail an audit process by the Comptroller General of the Republic. But "we are open to that" he said. The important thing is to see how the FAP functions for the future, said the official on Telemetro Reports.
Yesterday, Monday, the president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, said the government will bring forward the entry into force of the FAP, and also requested a waiver of the Fiscal Responsibility Law, as consequences of the severe damage caused by heavy rains in recent days in western Panama and Colon. "We are going to change the dates so the FAP can take effect immediately," Martinelli said after the meeting of the Cabinet Council convened yesterday afternoon. The FAP Act was enacted in June this year and it absorbed the trust fund. The new law says the money can be used during an emergency, but starting in 2015.
Report Of Flooding Victims and Homeless People in Western Panama - Meanwhile, the director general of the National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC) Arturo Alvarado, announced on Tuesday that about 236 homes were damaged as a result of the bad weather that hit the area of western Panama. And the number of homes affected by flooding in this area is 630, he said. Alvarado said Tuesday the delivery of aid to areas affected by bad weather will continue. This, after an extraordinary emergency session, the Cabinet Council adopted a resolution declaring a state of national emergency as a result of the damage caused by the rains.
Alvarado told local media that the rescue phase has already been completed, which consisted, among other things, to bring cleaning equipment to all homes affected by bad weather. They have also been brought hot food, since many families lost their stove, he said. "We have been bringing them breakfast, lunch and dinner from day one," he said. He said at this time they are in the rebuilding stage, for people to return to their normal life, said the official, who said satellite images show a clearer picture. He said further that three people have died because of these facts, while on Tuesday the search continues for two rescuers in Colon.
Recommendations - Alvarado called on citizens not to pay any attention to information emerging on social networks. He said from their accounts they send warning messages, that are not alerts. In turn, requested that all the collection centers established in the country maintain coordination with the Office of the First Lady, "so the delivery is fair and in order." This will prevent the practice of people taking advantage of the situation, he added.
This Tuesday, November 27, officials will be receiving, from 8:00 am - donations such as bottled water, clothes, milk and food packages at the collection center of the Mayor's Office of Panama City, located on the ground floor of the Hatillo building. Another collection center was established in Omar Park (San Francisco).
400 People Without Water in Capira - Meanwhile, the destruction of the aqueducts of Santa Rosa, Nuevo Paraíso, Los Uveros and Ciricito, and because of the high water of the Cirí Grande river in the district of Capira, is keeping at least 400 people without potable water supply since Friday November 23. According to figures from the Capira Township, about 21 families (100 adults and 30 children) are affected, after their homes were flooded and destroyed, and later they ceded the land where they had been built. In some villages, such as Dos Aguas, river water is being used for washing and cleaning tasks.
Another problem in these communities, one repeated in others, is a lack of food. The rice they have - said Macario Cardenas - is wet and therefore they only have vegetables to eat. In this regard, the local Justice of the Peace Rosilda Ortega confirmed there is food in the stores of Cirí de Los Sotos but it is already running out, especially rice. Some rice and coffee were also destroyed by the high water, she said.
Meanwhile, the first aid to arrive to Cirí de Los Sotos by road started to arrive yesterday, after a three hour trip. Access is difficult because four of the six fords over the Rio Indio have been destroyed, and there were also mudslides. However, in the towns of Dos Aguas, El Progreso, Los Uveros, La Encantada, Nuevo Limón, Los Chorros and Lajaliza, help has yet to arrive. The Mayor of Capira Ivan Saurí said they have taken water and dry food to these sites. He added that the aid is being transported by air by the Sinaproc.
"The Arco Iris Project Was Done To Help Colon" - For his part, Minister of Public Works, Jamie Ford, responded to the questions that have emerged following the collapse of several houses in the Arco Iris project, located in the province of Colon, on Friday, Nov. 23. Ford said the Arco Iris project was built with the intention of supporting the people of Colon. "In this project we worked in good spirits to provide a housing solution to the humble people of Colon," said the minister, who said that after the collapse of houses happened in this place, the Government has not been hiding from its responsibility for what happened and "we have been showing our faces." In turn, Ford reiterated that the Government will provide new homes for those affected, once the official balance has been determined.
Ministry Of Health Declares Alert - Faced with these situations, the Ministry of Health advised citizens to take precautions to stay away from flooded areas, solid waste should be disposed of properly and not left outdoors. Max Ramirez, the director in charge of Health, said on TVN News that furniture such as sofas, should be discarded, because the accumulation of land and water that they can absorb in a flood becomes a source of contamination for humans. Ramirez also recalled that during this Tuesday the Ministry of Health will continue to provide health support to those affected with sanitation crews to the affected areas of western Panama.
Arabe Unido Will Donate Proceeds: The soccer team Deportivo Arabe Unido, which will play its semifinal game tonight against Plaza Amador in the Panamanian Soccer League, announced that in solidarity with the victims of Colon, all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Red Cross of Panama. Through a statement, Arabe Unido said the move was made "as a contribution from our club for all those families that were affected due to the heavy rains that hit the province these days." The game starts at 9:00 pm at the Muquita Agustin Sanchez stadium, the district of La Chorrera. (Prensa)