TS Stan Ravages Central America; 230 Reported Dead

October 7, 2005

Tropical Storm Stan has brought devastation to large parts of El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Southern Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras. 120 people are reported to have died in Guatemala, over half of the 230 fatalities reported so far.

Most of the damage has been caused by torrential rains that have triggered massive mudslides and widespread flooding. Over the weekend Stan swept across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, then moved south into Central America, where rain fell almost continuously for three days.

In El Salvador the storm’s fury was compounded by the eruption on Sunday, Oct. 2, of Ilamatepec, the country’s highest volcano. The eruption – the first since 1904 – shook the ground and ejected smoke, ash and large rocks over a one mile (1.5. km) area, killing two people, and forcing a number of the estimated 10,000 people who live in the area to flee.

The rains have begun to subside, and rescue workers in the stricken countries are beginning to reach the thousands of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and villages. Authorities are also trying to restore damaged infrastructure, mainly roads and bridges leading to affected areas. The death toll is expected to rise as more rescue workers reach outlying areas.

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