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Sunday, July 15 2018 @ 09:08 PM EDT

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Panama Guide Reader's Photos of Flooding

WeatherBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I received the following via email: "Sandra and I went out to La Chorrera this morning to go to Brisas de los Lagos and got stopped by police while going out Calsada Larga just before the Mistic development. The river was Way out of its banks, first two photos. The police said on the scene that this started at about 4am. Still wanting to go to Brisas we detoured to go by way of Nuevo Emperador (sp on everything) and went back to the old highway but got stopped at the river again, second two photos. All kinds of police and rescue vehicles (some towing boats) were headed that way along the interamerican highway. Dave."







Editor's Comment: Never try to cross rapidly moving flood waters, either on foot or in a vehicle.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Two Killed By Mudslide in Panama

WeatherAt least two people were killed, crushed by landslides caused by heavy rains that hit the country in recent hours and forced authorities to declare an emergency zone. In the village of Trinidad, in Capira, a 75 year old man and his 35 year old son were killed when part of the hill above them slid down and hit their humble home in the evening hours of Saturday. Another adult and a minor in the same home miraculously managed to save their lives.

The most severe cases were in the area of ​​New Arenosa where the two deaths occurred, and the road between the towns of Los Faldares y Nuevo Paraíso, more than 200 meters of roadway disappeared. Cirí De Los Sotos was under water, so everyone had to take refuge in the church because it was at the highest point. A similar situation was reported in Peña Blanca and Tres Hermanas, where houses were completely destroyed, and others were covered by a strong stream of water and mud.

According to reports from the Emergency Operations Center, as a result of the constant rains, approximately 800 homes were affected by flooding in the areas of Mastranto Final and the Revolución in La Chorrera and in Hato Montaña in Arraiján. This area was affected by the flooding of the Caimito river, which also damaged several businesses.

President Ricardo Martinelli visited the areas affected by flooding and mudslides in Capira y La Chorrera. Martinelli took food and water to affected areas such as Nueva Arenosa, Aguacate, Florida, Cacao and Cirí De Los Sotos.

The Vice President Juan Carlos Varela also toured the flooded districts and asked the authorities for effective coordination of the Government to take all measures within its power to provide humanitarian assistance and response those who have been affected.

Product of the bad weather, authorities suspended the parade in La Chorrera, planned to celebrate the independence of Panama from Spain on November 28, 1821.

On Tuesday the Cabinet will meet to discuss the situation caused by the constant rains in the Western sector of the province of Panama and Colon. (Siglo)

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"The River Turned Into A Monster" In La Chorrera

WeatherTwo people were killed by a landslide, two more are missing, hundreds of families have been homeless, and material losses worth millions of dollars are the consequences yesterday left by the flooding that occurred in the Western part of the province of Panama, with greater intensity in La Chorrera. In that district rains caused flooding in eight communities, with the neighborhood of Flamingo being the most affected.

There, a quick count found that 45 houses were seriously damaged, and the owners lost everything. The water treatment plant in this area was also damaged. There were damages in La Arenosa, La Estancia, Sitio Iguana, and in other rural areas, where currents swept away crops and poultry.

The mayor of La Chorrera, Themistocles Herrera, given the magnitude of the disaster, called on the National Police, the National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC), the Fire Department, the Ministry of Housing and Land Management, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and all social support agencies to go to the different sites in order to assess the damage, and to provide support to those affected. As an emergency measure, Herrera had suspended the parade that was to be held in his district yesterday to commemorate the independence of Panama from Spain.

SINAPROC Did Not Provide Supplies: Many questioned SINAPROC's delay in reaching the flooded sites. SINAPROC had to ask for support from units and equipment from the central provinces, because the manpower and equipment previously stationed in La Chorrera was not sufficient to deal with the magnitude of the disaster.

Juan Alvarado, who lives in the neighborhood El Campesino, said he felt it when the water came under the door of his house, at about 4:00 am, and when he looked out the window he saw that his yard had been converted in a pool. He called to the other residents, while the rain kept falling without stopping. They called the SINAPROC, but they could do nothing due to the onslaught of the swollen river.

Santiago Acosta said he has been living in this place for 65 years and he has never seen anything like it. (See Editor's Comment) The street and his car were under water.

In Arraiján, the rising Aguacate river caused flooding of nearby businesses, and it was reported that a house succumbed to the power of the estuary, as in Capira, where the rains have caused flooding, although with less intensity.

So far on Monday the national and municipal authorities have not been able to establish with certainty the amount of damages.

There are estimates of damages in the millions of dollars, and according to the estimates made by firefighters, that's a low estimate, and most of the damages have been concentrated in the area of La Chorrera. (Critica)







Editor's Comment: Please pay attention to the statement made by the man who has lived in that area for 65 years, and he's "never seen anything like it." These concentrated downpours can focus the delivery of millions of cubic meters of water on a relatively tight area over a very short period of time. These types of focused water dumps might have never occurred in that particular area before. And, it might be 100 years or more before it happens again, at that exact same spot. The places that are flooding this year in November might not be the places that flood next year in November. Until you've seen this kind of rain first hand, it's hard to describe. If standing in a shower is "normal" rain, this is like getting hit by five fire hoses at once, by way of comparison. The volume of water involved is incredible.

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Disaster! Three Dead and Two Missing in Panama

WeatherTwo people died yesterday when they were buried in their home by a landslide that occurred in New Arenosa, Capira district, in the west, due to heavy rains that lashed Panama. Also two people have been reported as missing, and hundreds of homes have been affected by flooding.

Colon - The First Victim: In Colon, Carlos Antonio Biergo, 48, died after slipping and falling into the water in Quebrada Ancha. Mudslides were also reported, and ten homes located in Palenque, in the Upper Coast of Colon, lost their roofs due to a waterspout (tornado).

State of Emergency - Given the situation, President Ricardo Martinelli visited the affected areas and declared a state of emergency in La Chorrera, Capira and Colón to speed aid to people affected, and to manage the repair of roads and bridges damaged after heavy rains in the past hours.

Editor's Comment: The two people who have been reported missing are the SINAPROC workers. I know that two others were killed in a mudslide. And the guy who died when he fell into Quebrada Ancha will probably bring the known death toll so far to five.

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Roadways Blocked At Different Points By Flooding And Mudslides

WeatherAfter the floods and landslides that occurred last Sunday, November 25, in several parts of the country, which left a picture of pain and desolation, on Monday morning some of the roads are still closed, and authorities have urged people to use caution.

In La Chorrera, the National Police have banned travel on the old Hato Montaña road, as they perform work to remove the mud and debris that was left on the track.

Similarly, the Transistmica Highway has been closed by the National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC), and they are asking drivers to use the new highway between Panama City and Colon.

No tolls are being charged on this highway now, due to the damages suffered to the Transistmica Highway in the area of Quebrada Ancha.

During the early morning hours of today, Monday, 26 November 2012, the rains did not stop and continue to rage in Colon, causing the flooding of rivers and streams. Floods are reported in Puerto Escondido, Villa Luzmila, La Verbena, and El Lago. Also in Cativá and Villa del Caribe there are damages caused by the flooding of the Fantasma creek.

Meanwhile, in La Chorrera, water levels fell during the night and many people were able to return to their homes to clean up.

On the other hand, is expected the search for the missing SINAPROC rescue workers Jorge Alemán and Fernando Johnson will resume, whose vehicle fell off a cliff when the Boyd Roosevelt Highway in Colon gave way. Canine units have identified a point where the rescuers could be located. The Chief of the Fire Department of Panama, Pablo Tuñón, said they are waiting for machines to move the earth at the point where the accident occurred.

According to reports from the Hydrometeorology of ETESA, in the Caribbean slope "intermittent downpours will continue, accompanied by winds of light to moderate intensity, and occasional thunderstorms along the slope and mountain ranges." (Estrella)

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650 Houses Affected By Flooding In Provinces of Panama and Colon

WeatherThe rains that fell over the weekend left some 650 households affected by flooding, 2 dead and one missing, and damages in different parts of the provinces of Panama and Colon, according to the official report of the National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC).

According to the director of the institution, Arturo Alvarado, collection centers will not be established in any of the places where people have been affected, because the state will provide assistance to all of the affected families.

He said the preventative release of water from the Gatun and Madden dams by the Panama Canal Authority were not the cause of the floods that occurred.

Alvarado also disagreed with the measure adopted by the Mayor of La Chorrera to suspend the parades, saying the mayor should have consulted with him before making the decision, and the SINAPROC would have advised him if the measure was necessary or not. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: All of this flooding is being caused by heavy rain storms that basically stall over one place. They dump incredible amounts of water on a relatively small area in a short period of time. It's simply too much water for the normal rivers and streams to deal with, so they leave their banks. These are more like flash floods than anything else. In Panamanian Spanish they call it a "cabeza de agua" (a head of water), the term used to describe the rapidly rising waters of a river, stream, or creek. The water comes up very quickly - in a matter of just a few minutes - and your house that was once high and dry now has water up to the roof. Normally the rain stops within a few hours, and then 12 to 24 hours later the water is gone. Residents who had their houses flooded have lost everything, all of their earthly belonging destroyed by the water. They are now left to try to clean up and start over. The problem is, you never know exactly where these massive dumps of water will occur. You might have a creek or stream behind your house that has never flooded like this in all of the collective memories of all area residents. Then one of these storms comes along and you're reaching for a snorkel...

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Heavy Rains Cause Disaster and Emergency in Panama

WeatherThe storm that hit areas of Colón, Capira, Arraiján and La Chorrera yesterday left at least three dead, more than 3000 people affected, heavy material losses in both the public and private sectors, and several communities cut off. Donacio Medina, 70, and Santos Medina, 34, died in Nueva Arenosa in Capira, after a mudslide engulfed their house.

In reaction to the disaster, president Ricardo Martinelli visited the affected areas along with the Housing Minister José Domingo Arias, the Minister of Public Works Jaime Ford, and the Foreign Minister Rómulo Roux. Martinelli declared a "state of emergency" La Chorrera, Capira and Colón in order to speed aid to those affected, and to manage the repair of damaged roads and bridges.

The same storm that harshly punished the neighborhood of Nuevo Arco Iris in Colon on Saturday continued yesterday to plague the region, particularly in the Western part of the province of Panama, causing the Caimito river that separates La Chorrera y Arraiján to leave its banks, as well as some of the smaller rivers, streams and creeks in the area in the early morning hours yesterday, flooding the sectors of Trapichito, Los Raudales, Mastrando Final and Hato Montaña. The waters also flooded across the Pan American Highway.

Many businesses were damaged, including El Machetazo, Maribel, On the Run, beer distributors, salons, clinics, restaurants and small businesses.

The mayor of La Chorrera, Themistocles Herrera, ordered the suspension of patriotic parades, which angered some of the traders who had placed their stalls along the edge of the street. This prompted a response from the Director of the National Civil Protection System, Arturo Alvarado, who called the mayor's decision a mistake. According to Alvarado, the mayor should have consulted with him, because when there are emergency situations, everything should be coordinated with relief organizations.

In Colon, meanwhile, a day after the collapse of 11 houses in Nuevo Arco Iris, a part of the Boyd-Roosevelt highway collapsed, forcing the government suspend the collection of tolls on the Alberto Motta highway yesterday. Road crews are working on the road, but it is not safe. SINAPROC reported that last night a Red Cross ambulance suffered a mishap on the Boyd-Roosevelt highway.

The rains have been caused by a low pressure system covering from Colombia to Costa Rica. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Last night two SINAPROC workers were inspecting a section of the roadway, when it collapsed. They were swept away by the mudslide. Rescue efforts have been hampered because the ground in the entire area is unstable. They were most likely killed. So, the old highway to Colon is closed, because of this mudslide.

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Emergency Situation (Weather) - Flooding and Mudslides in Panama

WeatherBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Heavy rains have been causing flooding and mudslides in Panama since late last week.

Over the weekend the situation intensified, and spread from the province of Colon to the Western part of the province of Panama, affecting areas in Capira, Arraiján and La Chorrera. And, there are also reports of flooding and damage from the "lower coast" of Colon.

At least 650 homes have been flooded, probably more. At least two people have been killed. There are widespread reports of mudslides. Roads have been washed out or blocked by debris. In the Arco Iris neighborhood of Colon about 23 homes newly constructed by the government slid down a hill and were destroyed. There are currently towns that are cut off. People are missing. And, the rains are still falling. Centers are being established to collect emergency donations. Journalists can't get to some of the affected areas because the roads are cut off. Right now emergency responders are still dealing with the initial response, and in areas where the waters have receded, the cleanup has started.

I will be reporting on all of this during the day today. I also have to deal with issues related to new subscribers to this website - mostly technical problems related to user accounts and access - and I will get to those later this morning, or in the afternoon. But first I will push out a block of reporting to adequately cover the ongoing emergency situation. Also, today is a holiday in Panama so most offices and businesses are closed.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Eleven Houses Collapse Next To Northern Corridor in Colon Mudslides

WeatherBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This is an image posted on Twitter by Mitzayla Brown (@Mitzayla) and sent to the Mi Diario newspaper, in which you can see the collapse of some of the houses in Colon, taken from the Northern Corridor. Eleven houses slid down the hill after nightfall. The power went out, and emergency responders were pulling people out of the debris in the rain, mud, and dark. This housing development was just recently built and delivered by the government of Ricardo Martinelli. Apparently there were serious problems with drainage. The Chief of the Fire Department today ordered the evacuation of all 150 homes as a precaution.

The entire Atlantic coast of Panama has been inundated by constant rains since Thursday, now entering into three solid days of steady downpours. The ground is saturated and mudslides are becoming frequent and more of a threat. Many areas are flooded. The authorities are responding to the emergencies as they arise, first concerned about the safety and welfare of those affected. If mudslides start to occur around Lake Alajuela, the water treatment plant in Chilibre might go off line again, just has it did in 2010 and 2011 at this time of the year.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Two Days Straight Of Heavy Rains Cause Flooding In Colon Province

WeatherTwo days of rain have caused the Fantasma creek to overflow, located in the village of Cativá, Colon province. About 250 houses in eight communities have been affected by flooding. The National System of Civil Protection reported that between Thursday and Friday there have been reports of flooded houses with cracked structures, landslides, and fallen trees in the neighborhoods of Guayabal, San Isidro, San Pedro A and B, Llano Bonito and Villa Guadalupe.

The water level, which reached as high as four feet in some homes, caused families to lose all of their belongings: food, clothing, furniture, mattresses and even school supplies for their children; worrying parents because final exams are about to begin.

So far there are 14 families homeless in Llano Bonito, said Jaime Ospina, Sinaproc director, and they are evaluating other sectors to establish the degree of flooding. (Siglo)

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