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Sunday, July 15 2018 @ 09:07 PM EDT

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A "Natural Dam" Caused By Mudslides Triggered Floods

WeatherThe extreme rainfall events are characterized by a higher level of precipitation, said Billy Ubillus, the National Director of Environmental Quality Protection of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM).

Ubillus spoke about the statements that have been made about the impact of climate change on the level of rainfall, and he said what has changed is the frequency of the recurrence of extreme rainfall events, which previously occurred every 100 to 150 years.

He gave as an example what happened in the Western part of the province of Panama, where part of the floods were caused by natural landslides next to the Caimito river, which dragged the forest floor to the river. Besides trees, the current swept solid material and sediment, creating a sort of natural dam. The amount of water released when this natural dam gave way caused a sudden rise in the water level, which ultimately triggered the floods. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: So the rain triggered mudslides up river. The mudslides dropped dirt and trees into the river channel. This blocked the flow of water, and created a natural dam, and a lake behind it. When all of that failed and gave way, the wall of water came bursting down river, causing the flood. OK, this is the first time I've heard this explanation, and it makes sense.

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Heavy Rains Shut Down Panama City This Afternoon

Weather Streets were flooded and the city was practically paralyzed, due to the large traffic congestion is what is being reported on the social networks following the rains this afternoon, Wednesday, 5 December.

The tweeters question the lack of traffic units in different streets, and accidents that have occurred in areas such as Via Brazil near PriceSmart, as well as at the bridge of the Americas.

Points such as Avenida Perú, Vía España, Avenida Balboa ,Calle 50, Bella Vista, Calidonia, Vía Transístmica and Avenida Justo Arosemena are paralyzed, according to reports from drivers.

There has also been reports of floods in Frangipani, the Children's Hospital and Via Veneto.

"Half of Panama is flooded and it only rained 20 minutes. God Forbid it should rain the whole day," said one via Twitter.

Recent heavy rains caused flooding in Colon and La Chorrera, leaving more than 1,500 homes affected.

The rains have worsened the traffic situation in Panama, which has been affected by the holiday season, and the road realignment work being done by the current government, which has tested the patience to the drivers, as this is the price progress. There are no reports from the National System of Civil Protection on anyone who might have been affected by flooding. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: The very end of the rainy season is "funny" like that. One day it will rain like hell and dump a zillion gallons of water and flood everything. The very next day it's like someone threw a grand master switch in the sky - Click! - and it's dry season. Any day now...

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Heavy Rains Provide No Relief

Weather Bad weather, coupled with the rising rivers, caused anxiety among the residents of several neighborhoods of La Chorrera, in the Western part of the province of Panama, and the province of Colon.

As the families in La Chorrera are still struggling to overcome the losses suffered in the floods of 25 November 2012, the Caimito overflowed its banks again during the early morning hours on Saturday, flooding several homes.

However, this time there was a chance to save the food, clothing and mattresses that had been received as donations days ago, thanks to a warning given by the locals.

According to the mayor of La Chorrera, Themistocles Herrera, at around 10:00 pm on Saturday he received information from the sector of Los Mortales, where the river level was rising rapidly.

This allowed them to alert the families residing in the neighborhoods of Revolución Final, Trapichito and Mastranto Final, so they could respond to any eventuality.

At about 3:00 am, the river began to flood houses in Revolución Final and El Campesino, plus six houses in the villate of Santa Rita.

The floods of last weekend left 1,800 people homeless, according to figures from the mayor, and five houses destroyed.

Support - In the sector of Revolución Final, Alcides Rodríguez collaborated on a board to build three houses in an area that 20 years ago was demarcated as a street.

Rodriguez said he collected signatures from neighbors to ask the Ministry of Housing and Land for compensation.

He said five other families will be relocated to municipal land in the area of ​​Potrero Grande.

Meanwhile in Mastranto Final, families who spent the night outside of their their homes insisted that they are willing to be relocated, rather than returning to their old homes and face the risk of repeating the experience of losing all of their belongings.

Capira - Although the district of Capira the material losses have not yet been quantified, it was learned that only the reconstruction of the destroyed suspension bridge in the community of Lajalisa has a cost of $80,000.

For its part, the Ministry of Agriculture reported they will apply lime to the remains of 37 cattle killed in a landslide in Lajalisa, to minimize environmental damage.

In a statement, the ministry said there are still communities like Jordanal and Arenillas, which have not been reached, and whose losses are still unknown.

They also reported losses of poultry, pigs, fruits and vegetables in the communities of Los Chorros, Claras Abajo, Cirí de Los Sotos and Santa Rosa.

Colon - Also, since yesterday morning an intense downpour struck the province of Colon, again flooding the zones of Villa del Caribe, El Nazareno and Sagrada Resurrección, while the authorities continue to deliver support to the victims.

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Rising Level Of Rio Caimito Puts La Chorrera Residents On Alert

WeatherAbout 8 homes located in the Barriada Revolución Final, in the district of La Chorrera, were affected by floods today, December 1, because the Caimito river burst its banks and hit the roads of the villages of Herrera and Mendoza.

According to reports, the communities are asking to be relocated, because the water reached a meter high.

In the evening hours, the Caimito river in the sector of El Trapichito reached its highest level, but it is being monitored, and the water level has started to fall, said Javier Castillo, the Chief of the Emergency Operations Center.

"At the moment we have no evacuation plan, but in case the water levels start to rise then we will make the call, and start evacuations," said Castillo. (Panama America)

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Heavy Rain Hitting "Lower Coast" of Colon, Right Now

WeatherBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Panama's problems with heavy rains, flooding, mudslides, and "turbidity" in the drinking water might not be over. It's starting to look menacing in the Panama City area so I checked the Panama Canal's live weather radar. It looks like there are some very strong storms dumping rain on the "lower coast" of the province of Colon, right now. This is the same area, in places like Miguel de la Borda, Gobea, Salud, Vista Hermosa, and Piña, that got hammered from 20 - 28 November 2006. See: www.servir.net/inundaciones_de_noviembre_de_2006_en_panam%C3%A1.

Copyright 2012 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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Three Killed After Water Swept Their Car Into A Ravine

WeatherA serious accident in Loma Cova in the district of Arraiján killed three people Friday afternoon November 30, police said. A total of six people were traveling in the car, a white Mazda, which was swept away by the force of the water to a ravine on the side of the road near the Naval Air Service. An eight year old child was seriously injured, and another is missing. Only one person escaped from this accident unhurt, because they managed to escape from the vehicle's window.

The incident took place when a torrential downpour was falling in Panama City. On the site there are ambulances and staff of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC). There is also an enormous traffic jam in the area. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: Wow. The water swept the car off of the highway and into a ravine? Really? Holy cow...

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The Government Will Have Access To $173 Million From Savings Fund For Disaster Relief

WeatherThe Government will have $173 million at its disposal from the Savings Fund of Panama (FAP), once Bill 542 is approved, which yesterday received its first reading in the Economy Committee of the Assembly. The initiative seeks to amend the law that created the Savings Fund, and to use part of those funds to deal with the damage caused by floods in western Panama and Colon. Some 15 speakers took part in the second day of the first debate, which lasted nearly five hours until it was passed with six votes in favor.

The main objection of the opposition parties was the absence of a report by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) detailing how the money of the Savings Fund will be spent. There was also suspicion about the possibility of a waiver request to allow the use of $500 million dollars of the fund, which currently contains a total of $1.242 billion.

The Deputy Economy Minister Omar Castillo explained that the law states when there is an emergency an amount of money equal to only 0.5% of GDP can be used, in this case a maximum of $173 million. "It means we can only use that amount. In case there was a larger disaster, we would have to look for other funds and to ask the National Assembly for a waiver, to increase the fiscal deficit ceiling," he said. If it were necessary, Castillo explained that first they would submit a report on the losses, which could be ready in two months. He recalled that in 2010 a similar disaster occurred in the Eastern part of the province of Panama and only $149 million was spent on the response.

Bodies of Missing Red Cross Workers Found - Finally, at noon yesterday, rescue workers found the Red Cross vehicle and recovered the bodies of the two rescuers, Jorge Alemán and Fernando Johnson, who on Sunday as they traveled to Colon to assist in the flooding in the province, were surprised by the collapse of a sector of the Transistmica Highway on which they were travelling, at La Curva del Cebo, in Quebrada Ancha.

Members of the Panamanian Red Cross, the Sinaproc and Red Cross rescue workers from Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica found the truck at around 9:00 am, and then they proceeded to remove the bodies. Their colleagues paid tribute to them by forming an Honor Guard as their remains were removed from the site of the disaster. (Panama America)

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Company That Build Nuevo Arco Iris Landfill Says They Are Not Responsible For Collapse Of Houses

WeatherThe company Ingeniería y Remodelaciones Civiles, S.A. (Inreci), responsible for building the landfill under the Nuevo Arco Iris neighborhood that collapsed last week, said they met all of the technical parameters requested by the national government. "We have no responsibility in what happened in this incident. We believe that the constant and heavy rains, combined with the waters from adjacent streams, had to do with the collapse," defended the company in a statement. Officials from the Ministry of Housing and Land Management reported that a study is needed to determine the cause of the collapse. Meanwhile, Inreci said they have hired a company to conduct an investigation of what happened, so they expect to have a report ready by the end of the year. According to the Ministry of Housing, the company Ingasa started to build the landfill, but when a crack opened up they abandoned the project.

ANAM Orders Work Stopped On Housing Project - The promoter Ibiza, that is building the housing project Ibiza Playa Residences II in Las Guías Oriente, in Río Hato de Antón, Coclé, did not comply with the decision of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM), to stop construction on the project in order to correct a mistake, which, according the entity, can lead to a tragedy. According to Anam, the company knocked down a slope that filled in a ravine adjacent to the housing project, preventing the natural flow of water which could cause flooding, as occurred in Colon and in western Panama. The suspension of work on the project could not be met because workers have opposed the authorities and kept them from executing the order. The development company has filed several appeals to prevent the stoppage of the project, and they threaten to take legal action against Anam. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: In the first case, it's common for the Panamanian government to basically issue a construction contract in which they ask a company to build something in a wrong or incorrect manner. A few years ago I was investigating some bad work done on roads and schools. When I contacted the companies that had built these projects - which were falling apart shortly after delivery - they were able to prove to me that they had, in fact, built exactly what the government of Martin Torrijos had asked for. What's more, they even were able to show correspondence and letters in which they tried to tell the government "it's not going to work" but the MOP ordered them to proceed, anyway. Also you should understand that these same knuckleheads were the ones who started this housing project in Nuevo Arco Iris - the administration of Ricardo Martinelli inherited his project from the previous administration of Martin Torrijos. This is the first time that I've heard another company started building the landfill but then quit when it started falling apart, even before it was finished. They obviously said "screw this" and bailed... They were right.

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Martinelli Inspects Schools Damaged By Recent Flooding

WeatherPresident Ricardo Martinelli, accompanied by the Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar, visited the Technical Professional Institute of Colon in Cativá, affected by the recent floods, where he said that they are also providing the necessary assistance to those schools that were damaged by bad weather.

Martinelli said that, between Colon and Capira, 40 school campuses were affected by floods, and insisted in his message that we must protect our rivers and streams to prevent these disasters.

In Colon, the president also visited the Pablo Sanchez school, where the told reporters that he is urging corrections in the sewer system in this province, because it is one of the main causes of flooding and therefore he will focus on solving this problem.

His tour, held on Tuesday 27 November, also included in the El Mastranto neighborhood in La Chorrera, affected by the overflow of the Rio Caimito, where he explained they are coordinating the relocation of families to another area, because this is a low area prone to flooding.

There he reiterated that the aid is still flowing to the needy and that the government will work until it reaches everyone.

President Martinelli, along with ministers, officials of the PAN, the Social Secretary of the Presidency, the Cleanliness Authority, as well as Aris de Icaza and Rubén Frías - the Deputies from this area, handed out stoves, mattresses, cleaning implements, food, etc. to help these families who lost all their belongings in the floods. (Mi Diario)

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Red Cross Rescue Vehicle Pulled From Mudslide

Weather Rescue units were able to completely remove the Red Cross vehicle, which had been buried when they fell through the cracks after landslides on the road Boyd Roosevelt, in Quebrada Ancha.

As soon as the vehicle was removed from the dirt, rescue teams covered the vehicle (a pickup truck) with a tarp, awaiting the arrival of the officials of the Public Ministry.

The task force surrounded the recovered vehicle to remove dirt from the car carefully. The car is pretty mangled, but so far it has not been reported that the bodies of the two missing Red Cross rescue personnel were inside the pickup truck. Police kept the area cordoned off to prevent the entry of outsiders.

The Red Cross pickup truck was swept away in a mudslide on Sunday, with the two rescue workers Jorge Alemán and Fernando Johnson, while others who were also in the vehicle at the time managed to save their lives by jumping in time.

It has not yet been confirmed if a second vehicle fell off the cliff, as some people claimed.

Four hydraulic excavators were used in the rescue operation, and rescue units from Panama, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica participated. (TVN)

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