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Gamma hits Central America

Tropical Storm Gamma killed six people in Central America over the weekend before weakening to a tropical depression.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | November 20, 2005

Tropical Storm Gamma killed six people in Central America over the weekend before weakening to a tropical depression.

Honduras bore the brunt of the storm, with flash floods stranding thousands of people. More than 5,000 people were evacuated, most from the city of San Pedro Sula. At least 13 people are missing. Five major rivers overflowed their banks.

Gamma struck Central America as the region is still recovering from hurricanes Stan and Beta, which struck in early and late October. Heavy rains from the hurricanes lashed the whole Central American region, affecting Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua, causing extensive flooding and mudslides.

In Hurricane Stan's wake, more than 32,775 houses were damaged or destroyed in Guatemala alone. In Nicaragua, flood devastation is coupled with severe crop loss from a plague of worms and rats in the northeastern part of the country. The crops of 49,000 people have been totally destroyed, according to Church World Service (CWS).

Faith-based groups - many of which have long-standing Central American partners - have launched an ecumenical effort to help local communities form long-term recovery plans. CWS partners as well as partners of Action by Churches Together have been focusing on helping the most vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, forecasters said what's left of Tropical Storm Gamma was likely to miss Florida.

The depression was churning slowly north toward Cuba on Sunday morning. Southern Cuba can expect up to six inches of rain.


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