Costa Rica + 1 more

Flooding in Central America leaves 7 dead

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San Jose, Costa Rica/Managua, Nicaragua_(dpa) _ At least six people died in Costa Rica and another person died in Nicaragua as a result of heavy rains in recent days, authorities in both countries said Friday.

Civil defence agencies remain on alert in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

The rain has also affected Honduras and caused property damage across Central America.

An official report in Costa Rica said that 274 municipalities in the country suffered flooding, with 2,100 people forced to flee their homes for emergency shelters.

Hardest-hit in Costa Rica were Parrita and Quepos on the central Pacific coast, and many municipalities in the northern province of Guanacaste reported flooding.

The Costa Rican National Emergency Commission said that 287 homes and 20 bridges were damaged. The National Meteorology Institute said that the last week in San Jose was the capital's wettest since 1944.

Emergency workers were digging through debris following a mudslide on a road near the Nicaraguan border, fearing that cars may have been buried.

In Nicaragua, at least one person died and more than 2,000 people had to be evacuated as a result of heavy rain, civil defence chief Colonel Mario Perez-Cassar said.

He identified peasant Ana Natividad Chavarria, 54, as having drowned after being carried off by flood waters in El Cacao in the municipality of El Sauce, in the western province of Leon. She had gone missing Wednesday, and her remains were found early Friday, he said.

Classes were cancelled at schools in Leon and Chinandega provinces, and the number of emergency shelters across the country was increased from eight to 15.

Heavy rains over the last 10 days in Nicaragua have caused serious flooding, overflowing rivers and damage to roads. dpa rz ve vs ff

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