GUATEMALA CITY — At least 19 people were killed when torrential rains slammed large swaths of Central America, officials said Wednesday, with more than 40,000 people hit by flooding and landslides.
Guatemala was worst hit by the heavy rains brought by tropical depression "12-E," with President Alvaro Colom telling reporters at least 13 people were killed, including four people who were electrocuted in floods.
The other victims were claimed by flooding from swollen rivers and landslides, said Colom, urging travelers to be cautious on roads in danger of being washed away.
Two deaths were recorded in neighboring El Salvador, and to the south in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega announced the deaths of four people.
The heavy rains brought by tropical depression have soaked the region since Monday and will likely continue for another 48 hours, Colom warned, calling on governors of his country's 22 departments to stay on high alert.
He urged vigilance as he recalled the damage wrought by Tropical Storm Agatha last year that slammed the region and left 174 people dead in Guatemala alone.
In El Salvador, officials announced the deaths of a 19-year-old woman buried under a collapsed wall attributed to the heavy rains, and a woman, 63, killed when her home was swamped by a mudslide. Some 2,000 people were evacuated following flooding.
The tropical depression is unrelated to the massive storm system to the north, the former hurricane Jova, that roared onto the southwestern Mexican coast on Tuesday, triggering flooding and power cuts.
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