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Floods Block Streets in Honduras

October 3, 1999

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) _ Torrential rain and floods knocked down two bridges along the Pan-American Highway, blocking overland traffic throughout Central America, authorities in Honduras and Nicaragua said Sunday.

More than two dozen people were reported drowned in the past three weeks, and tens of thousands had to evacuate their flooded homes since the unusually heavy rain started in the early days of September.

A metal bridge spanning the Grande River near the southern town of Choluteca collapsed Saturday, blocking traffic to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama, Honduras’s director of highways Katia Pastor said.

She said it will take at least a week to repair it _ and the heavy rain is making it increasingly difficult.

Another bridge over the Negro River collapsed in neighboring Nicaragua _ at Somotillo, northwest of the capital of Managua _ further blocking traffic. At least 3,000 cars and trucks were stranded on both sides of that bridge since early Saturday, and another 2,000 were reported stranded on the Honduran span.

Much of the freight in Central America is moved by truck, and a large portion of passengers use buses.

At least 21 people have died and 15,000 had to evacuate flooded homes in Honduras, by official count, since the rains began. Another 10 were reported to have died in Nicaragua, and 11 more in El Salvador, where 12,000 people had to leave their homes.

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