Central America – Deadly Floods and Landslides in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras

Periods of heavy rain over the last 7 days have caused floods and landslides in parts of Central America. Civil protection authorities have reported 4 fatalities in El Salvador and at least 11 in Guatemala. Eight departments are on alert for heavy rain in Honduras.

Guatemala

The Executive Secretariat of the National Platform for disasters risk reduction (CONRED) in Guatemala said in a report of 20 June that parts of the country have seen heavy rain over the last 7 days.

CONRED warned that the rain has left soil saturated and there is an increased risk of overflowing rivers and landslides.

A major landslide occurred in the village Guachuna, San Pedro Soloma, in Huehutenango Department, on 20 June. The landslide hit nearby homes and spilled onto a highway burying two buses. Initial reports suggest that at least 11 people died (9 of whom were in the buses), with search and rescue efforts ongoing.

Guatemala President Jimmy Morales said via Social Media: “My deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of the avalanche victims in San Pedro Soloma, Huehuetenango.”

The heavy rain has affected other areas of the country in particular in the department of Peten. Flooding was also reported in the departments of Jalapa and Jutiapa. Several landslides occurred in Quiché and Chinautla.

As of 22 June, CONRED said that 1,060 people have been evacuated, 644 houses have been damaged and 57,460 people have been affected in the departments of Peten and Huehutenango.

Landslide in Huehutenango, Guatemala, June 2017. Photo: CONRED
Landslide in Huehutenango, Guatemala, June 2017. Photo: CONRED

El Salvador

Authorites in El Salvador have reported floods or landslides in the departments of La Paz, La Libertad, Sonsonate, Morazán and Chalatenango.

Comisión Nacional de Protección Civil in El Salvador reported on 19 June that floods and landslides since 13 June have displaced at least 389 people and left 4 dead and 3 injured.

Almost 200 homes have been flooded and 4 completely destroyed.

Honduras

In Honduras, eight departments were on Yellow Alert for heavy rain as of 21 June 2017.

Comisión Permanente de Contingencias (COPECO), the civil protection agency, also warned of the overflow of the Goascorán river and its tributaries and that people living near the Chamelecón and Ulúa rivers take precautionary measures as both rivers remain at a high level as a result of recent rains.

As of 21 June, 491 people (123 families) had been affected by the heavy rain and flooding over the last few days. Over 100 homes have suffered damage and twelve families have been displaced and are staying in temporary accommodation.

Earlier this month 2 people died and over 250 were forced from their homes after flooding in Choluteca Department.

Alerts in Honduras, 21 June 2017. Image: COPECO

Rainfall

In Guatemala, Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanologia, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) report that in a 24 hour period from 19 to 20 June, Albores, El Progresso, recorded 82.7 mm of rain and San Jose Pinula, Guatemala department, 51.4 mm.

According to WMO, 131 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Flores City (Peten) between 20-21 June.

In Honduras, 56 mm of rain fell during the same period in Santa Rosa de Copan, Copán department.

In El Salvador, Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) report that 63 mm of rain fell in El Pacayal, San Miguel in 24 hours from 20 to 21 June.