(June 1, 2010) More than 100 people have died in Central America in floods and landslides triggered by the first tropical storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season. Tropical Storm Agatha made landfall near the Guatemala-Mexico border Saturday with winds of 75 kilometers per hour.
Thousands of people in Guatemala had already been evacuated from their homes due to the eruption of the Pacaya volcano, just south of Guatemala City, which killed one person. An additional 83 people were reported killed by the storm, which has brought the nation's heaviest rains in 60 years. Volcanic ashes have covered the capital city, shut down its airport, and, now, increased the risk of floods by affecting drainage systems.
Agatha also pounded El Salvador, where seven people are reported dead, and Honduras, where nine people are reported dead. All three countries have declared a state of emergency and are grappling with damaged homes, roads, and infrastructure. Tens of thousands of people are taking refuge in shelters.
Save the Children has programs in all three countries and many of these have been affected by the storm. The agency is assessing the damage and communicating with national governments in order to respond to the emergency. In Guatemala, where Save the Children is working to address a hunger crisis affecting many children and families, the agency is now investigating how it can help restore vital roads to severely affected areas. In El Salvador, Save the Children distributed water and rain ponchos to some shelters and is making sure that children and families served by sponsorship programs are safe, sheltered and have access to food.
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