Floods Affect 1000s in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico

A system of low pressure has left parts of central America experiencing heavy rainfall and flooding since 15 or 16 October 2015.

Over 500 people have been displaced by floods in Guatemala. Floods damaged over 100 homes across seven municipalities in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, which has since declared an emergency. Severe weather warnings have been issued in Belize, El Salvador and Honduras, where 7 people reportedly died in Comayagua and the River Ulua has flooded areas of Yoro.

Overflowing río Ulua in El Progreso, Yoro. Photo: Bomberos de Honduras

Furthermore, Tropical Cyclone Patricia formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean in southern Mexico and may approach the coast of Michoacan and Colima States in Mexico as a Hurricane, late on 23 October 2015.

Over 500 Displaced in Guatemala

Heavy rains have been reported in the region since 16 October in Guatemala. CONRED, the disaster management agency, has declared orange alert for a high probability of floods and landslides across 70 % of the country.

CONRED say that the heavy rain over the last 5 days has affected 223,000 people. The departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz, Escuintla, Izabal, Jalapa, Petén, Suchitepequez, El Progreso, Guatemala, Solola, Totonicapan, Sacatepequez and Santa Rosa have been worst hit. Around 540 people have been forced to evacuate, 343 of which are housed in temporary shelters.

Mexico – Quintana Roo Declares Emergency after Floods

In Quintana Roo state, Mexico, a declaration of emergency has been declared for the seven municipalities of Benito Juárez, Solidaridad, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Bacalar and Othón P. Blanco.

The declaration was requested by the state government after severe rain and floods between 16 and 17 October 2015. Around 100 homes were damaged by flood and over 150 people had to be evacuated and stay in 3 temporary shelters.

Mexico’s National Coordination of Civil Protection of the Ministry of the Interior issued the declaration yesterday, 20 October 2015, and will allow the authorities access to resources to meet the nutritional needs, shelter and health of the population affected.

Belize – Hondo, Belize and Mopan Rivers Threaten to Overflow

At least 100 people have been displaced by floods in Belize City. Local media report that over 10 inches (254 mm) of rain fell in 36 hours in Belize City causing flooding up to 2 and a half feet (75 cm) deep in parts of the city.

The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) issued a public advisory yesterday, 20 October, regarding the threat of severe weather, in particular heavy rain and possible floods. They said:

“Another area of low pressure near the coast of Belize has moved inland over the Yucatan Peninsula and weakened. Development of this system now appears unlikely. However, this system could produce locally heavy rains across portions of Belize, during the next few days”.

NEMO report that Rio Hondo River is at flood stage and rising and they are on standby to assist Douglas and San Antonio residents with evacuation and movement to and from town. Residents are advised to move voluntarily for those who can.

Other rivers are also threatening to overflow. NEMO say that the Belize River is rising and residents of Grace Bank; St. Paul’s Bank; Willows Bank; Double Head Cabbage; Bermudian Landing; Isabella Bank; Flowers Bank; May Pen; Burrell Boom, Lord’s Bank and Ladyville are asked to observe and make the necessary preparations.

The Mopan River is 18 inches above normal levels. People living along the Macal and Mopan rivers have been asked to remain vigilant by emergency authorities.

El Salvador – Heavy Rainfall Warning for North East

In El Salvador Protección Civil have issued green (low level) and yellow (mid level) alerts for heavy rainfall, particularly in the north east of the country and warned people not to cross rivers due the possibility of flash floods.

Tropical Cyclone Patricia

ECHO report that Tropical Cyclone Patricia formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean, south of Chiapas and Oaxaca States in southern Mexico, on 20 October. On 21 October, at 3.00 UTC, its centre was located 340 km south of Salina Cruz in Oaxaca. It was a Tropical Storm with maximum sustained wind speed of 65 km/h.

Over the next 24 h, Patricia is forecast to move west-north west, intensifying, with its centre remaining over water. It may approach the coast of Michoacan and Colima States in Mexico as a Hurricane, late on 23 October 2015.