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Thursday, June 27 2019 @ 10:22 AM UTC

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More People Rescued From Bayano Area

Weather Several children and adults were rescued from the Bayano area, after the National Air Service made several evacuations. The people were worried because they had gone for several days without eating. Once rescued, they were treated by ambulance paramedics who were in the community and then transferred to the regional center at the Chepo University, where a temporary shelter has been established. The Rio de los Indios is one of those that has overflowed its banks onto the roadway, preventing access to several communities where there are still people waiting to be rescued. (TVN Noticias)
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Panama Canal Reopens After Flooding

Weather(CNN) -- The Panama Canal reopened Thursday after heavy rains and flooding prompted its closing for only the third time in its storied 96-year history. Officials closed the canal around noon Wednesday after heavy rain in the Chagres River area, caused water behind the Gatun Dam -- which creates Lake Gatun, a significant part of the canal -- to rise. The canal was reopened 17 hours later.

The last time the canal closed was in 1989, after the United States invaded Panama to topple strongman Manuel Noriega. Landslides forced the canal to close for several months from late 1915 to mid-1916, just months after it opened. The 48-mile canal is a key conduit for shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The canal was built from 1904 to 1914 by the United States, which had sole control over the channel across the Panamanian isthmus until 1979. Then, after 20 years of joint U.S.-Panama control, the Panamanian government assumed administration on December 31, 1999.

Editor's Comment: I got a call from a friend of mine who is a Panama Canal pilot, and he just happened to be the guy who was navigating a ship past the bridge over the Chagres River at Gamboa early Wednesday morning. He told me the water was coming down the river so hard that he was forced to order the ship into engines full ahead, and even though they were being assisted by a tug, he was just barely able to keep the ship from being run aground. There was just one guy behind him in the Gaillard Cut and he had to keep coming because there was no place for him to tie up. Once he got clear at around noon the ACP ordered everyone to stay in place and they shut the Panama Canal down for the next 17 hours. They reopened on Thursday morning and the backlog of ships caused by the short closure is slowly being erased.

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Roadways Leading to Province of Colon Collapse Due To Mudslides

WeatherAccess roads to the province of Colon have collapsed due to the bad weather that has prevailed in recent days. One of the main points is between Quebrada Bonita and Quebrada Ancha, on Via Transístmica, which collapsed completely, as the result of a mudslide. Also, a bridge that links the community of Nueva Italia and the Residencial Los Lagos collapsed, when a nearby hill suffered a mudslide. This is next to the highway. For now, the only way to enter the province of Colon is via the new highway, especially for heavy equipment. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: These are "worst ever in recorded history" amounts of rainfall. No one has every seen anything like this, and in Panama that's really saying something.

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Panama In A State of Emergency - Heavy Rains, Flooding, Mudslides

WeatherThe magnitude of the consequences caused by the rains in recent days prompted the government to decree starting today a state of national emergency to address the situation in the eastern provinces of Panama, Colon, and Darien. The security sectors reported the death of 10 people, more than 4,000 affected and 962 houses with total or partial damage. Classes will resume in Central Panama and San Miguelito. In Colon, there are fears that the community of Portobelo could be cut off. (La Estrella)

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Panama's President Declares "State of National Emergency" Due To Floods

WeatherPanama's President Ricardo Martinelli has decreed a "state of national emergency" to expedite aid to target the different areas of the country that have been affected by floods, overflowing rivers and landslides. Similarly, the President admitted that the dam at the Bayano Lake was about to give way, due to the amount of water that was accumulating. According to the president, the information was not revealed so as not to alarm the community. On the situation of the company AES Panama, Martinelli said they would have to answer for the damages, saying that the emergency discharge of water could have been done sooner. (Telemetro)

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Donation Collection Point Opened in Parque Omar in Panama City

WeatherThe Office of the First Lady with the National System of Civil Protection have officially opened a collection center in the Parque Omar, to benefit those people who have been affected by heavy rains and flooding, as announced by the Director of SINAPROC, Arturo Alvarado. He asked the public to not donate clothes, because the authorities do not consider it appropriate for them to receive these items at this time. Those affected by the downpours and flooding need foods that require no cooking, such as milk in tetra pack, juices, powdered milk for small children, soap, personal hygiene items, canned meats and things such as tuna, sardines, or sausages. Alvarado said they were making the call from the government for donations official, while recognizing that earlier there was a rumor that they were already accepting donations. He said that even as these people return to their homes, they still will not be able to prepare food until they have a chance to recover from the flooding. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: If you would like to make a donation to help the victims of the flooding, take your donations to the Parque Omar in Panama City.

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Panama Canal Reopens After Brief Weather Related Closure

WeatherThe Panama Canal, which handles more than 200 million metric tons of cargo a year, opened today after rain forced the first closure of the waterway since 1989. The 80 kilometer (50-mile) canal, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, opened after 17 hours, the Panama Canal Authority said in an e-mailed statement today. Ships were stopped yesterday after the main river and lake used by vessels reached record levels. The canal last closed when the U.S. invaded the Central American nation to oust then-President Manuel Noriega. Shutting the waterway obliges ships to sail around the tip of South America, resulting in longer trips and higher costs.

The length of the delay should mean no impact for shipping, Amrita Sen, a London-based analyst with Barclays Capital, said by phone today. Daily rates to hire panamax ships, the largest carriers of bulk commodities such as coal and iron ore that can fit the canal’s locks, were little changed at $19,028, according to the Baltic Exchange in London. The canal, first transited in 1914, is used by about 14,000 ships a year and employs 9,000 people, according to the Panama Canal Authority. Ships carry about 90 percent of world trade, handling 7.7 billion tons of cargo in 2008, according to the Round Table of International Shipping Associations. (Bloomberg)

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More than 4,000 People Affected by Heavy Rains, Flooding, and Landslides

Weather According to the official numbers, 4,097 people have been affected thus far by the heavy rains and flooding over the past several days in the Republic of Panama. Unusually heavy rains have triggered floods and landslides in various parts of the country, according to the Civil Protection System (SINAPROC). The rains and flooding have caused damage to at least 962 homes. In addition 412 houses were destroyed by the bad weather, said the director of Sinaproc, Arturo Alvarado. Of the number of homes destroyed, 390 are located in the area of Chepo, 19 in the Kuna Yala and three in Portobelo (Colon).

Alvarado said in recent hours flooding has been reported in the areas of El Llano (Chepo) and in the areas close to the Gatun and Diablo rivers. Also, streets flooded in the areas of 10th and 11th Streets in the Sur de Colon neighborhood, and in the areas of Santa Rosa and Guayabito. Sinaproc reported that shelters have been established in the Burunga school in the district of Arraiján, and in the Santa Isabel and Jose Gabriel Duque schools in the Eastern sector of the province of Panama, in the Jacobo Urriola school of Portobelo (Colon), and in the El Salto school in the Darien. (La Prensa)

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Panama Canal reopens as rain abates (YouTube Video of Destruction)

WeatherThe Panama Canal has reopened after heavy rains forced its first closure in over two decades. The 17-hour suspension had been ordered after the rainfall swelled nearby lakes, flowing into the key transport route that handles five per cent of global trade each year. "The canal is now operating; the suspension was the result of the inclement weather around the canal basin and this part of the country," Alberto Aleman Zubieta, the canal administrator, said on Thursday. On Wednesday, the Panama Canal Authority said downpours had filled the Gatun and Alhajuela lakes to historic levels, forcing it to suspend traffic for the first time since 1989 when the US invaded the country. Ricardo Martinelli, the president of Panama, said it was the first time the canal had been closed because of weather since it opened in 1914.

"Our meteorologists say it's never rained so much in Panama in the 73 years that we've kept climate records," Martinelli said. He said eight people had died as a result of the recent flooding. The country's Civil Protection System put eastern Panama on high alert and issued evacuation orders for about 1,500 people in dozens of flooded neighbourhoods.

Monsoon season - The 80km man-made artery links the Atlantic to the Pacific, with around 40 ships passing through the canal each day. Last year, work began on a $5.2bn project to enlarge the canal by constructing a third set of locks to ensure that today's super-size container ships, cruise liners and oil tankers - many of which are too wide for the canal - will be able to navigate the waterway in the future. The third set of locks, parallel to the existing two, would accommodate vessels 366 metres in length, 49-metres wide and with a 15-metre draft. The work should be completed by August 2014, a century after the canal's inauguration.

South America has been lashed by the heaviest rains in decades, with the yearly monsoon season made worse by the La Nina weather phenomenon. The canal was built between 1904 and 1914 by the US after an initial French attempt failed. It was returned to Panama's control 11 years ago. (aljazeera.net)

Editor's Comment: Take a look at this YouTube video to get an idea of the amount of water that was going down the Chagres river into the main channel of the Panama Canal. This video was shot at the one-lane bridge that goes over the Chagres river into Gamboa. From this point of view, the river goes up to your right, the Panama Canal is to your left, and the water is flowing from right to left, into the canal. Gamboa is straight ahead. You can see that entire chunks of land, complete with mature trees, were washed away into the river channel. Obviously, with all of this debris being washed into the canal, the ACP was forced to close...



Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Excess Water Being Dumped Out of Bayano Dam Reservoir

WeatherThe dam gates of the Bayano dam have been opened this morning, Tuesday, to evacuate the accumulated water volume, which reached it's highest level (62.2 m) due to the bad weather which caused heavy rains in the last two days. The information was confirmed by the Director of Corporate Affairs of AES Panama, Humberto Gonzalez, who said they are implementing a contingency plan to handle the discharge of the reservoir and to preserve the safety of people. Gonzalez said the dumping operation is working properly and as intended, and they also have reports that downstream communities are safe. (Panama America)

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