September 5, 2007

Flooding in northwest Honduras

Rio Ulúa is the large river in the center of map
marked in blue (in red farther north)
Click to enlarge

Rio Ulúa, one of the major rivers of Honduras, is now flooding its banks. but as in most Central American countries, primarily the poor live on or near the river banks and high risk areas. People are often reluctant to leave their home and belongings but are being removed by force when necessary. A total of 43,000 persons are now located in shelters. No deaths or injuries have been reported in Honduras at this time.

Rains have not been near the
predicted 10-15 inches (25-38 cm.) as a result of Hurricane Felix, but rains over the mountains in a widespread area drained into rivers and creeks which are now draining into the Rio Ulúa.

COPECO has declared a red alert for all low areas along the Ulúa. COPECO teams working with police, firefighters, and military are efficiently effecting the evacuations. In some cases they are using huge trucks to load people and some of their belongings and pets to carry them to higher ground.

Rio Choluteca which drains into the Pacific side is also approaching dangerous levels.

The area around Villanueva, about 15 miles south of San Pedro Sula, has flooded and the affected population has been evacuated.
Much of the flooded area appears to be farmland. It is estimated that about 1,000 people have been affected in Villanueva. The mayor has issued a plea to President Zelaya to provide water and food for these people.

Currently, areas near river in the city of El Progreso are being threatened by high waters. Approximately 300 people are in shelters in San Pedro Sula. COPECO in San Pedro Sula reported that they are ready with shelters and hot food for more people. To make matters worse, it has started drizzling in these areas.

The mayor of Puerto Cortés reported that everything is normal as of 4:20 p.m. As of 6 p.m., the cities of La Lima and Pimienta are under threat of flooding.

Trish from Gracias, Lempira, in the southwest part of Honduras, reported some flooding in that area in the morning. At last report about 3:30 p.m., the river was receding and was expected to be back to normal shortly. She believes that river may flow into the Ul
úa. You can read more on Trish's blog.

Here in La Ceiba, we've had no rain since before midnight last night. The Cangrejal is full but not dangerous. We had a partly sunny, partly cloudy day.

While most of the problems are a result of a natural disaster, reporters are frequently pointing out that much of the problems within the cities is a product of man-made problems in that trash thrown in creeks and sewers is blocking storm drains and natural draining as it always does. One reporter said, "When are people going to learn that they are doing this to themselves!"

Well, I thought that I was finished giving weather reports but you never know with mother nature.

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