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State of Emergency in Venezuela due to Heavy Rains

By Jorge Arena | Venezuela News and Views

09.02.05 | El Universal reports that because of the heavy rains the State of emergency may be declared in seven entities, one of them is Yaracuy, where Daniel lives. The vice president Jose Vicente Rangel also said that the rain is moving towards the east of the country, so that they are taken the necessary measures. In Vargas the government has already declared the state of emergency. Vcrisis is also reporting some details on the areas in Caracas that have been affected.

The Information Minister, Izarra, reported that there are 3 000 people affected and 3 death so far, but made sure that all the organizations of protection and security will be deployed.

To the delight of millions of children, the education Minister declared that classes have been suspended.

My family just called me from Venezuela. It seems that flights have been cancelled and that the thousands of people that were coming back from the Carnival vacation holiday have been asked to stay where they are.

The MINCI guys seem to have taken their role seriously and have kept people informed and made recommendations to the civil population.

Meanwhile, I have seen no news on Chavez. He has the bad habit of disappearing in times of crisis. When the 1999 Vargas tragedy took place, he disappeared for two days.

At that time, the government did not declare the state of emergency right away.This time is different: either they have learned their lesson, or it is just good luck that there is no election or Constitutional Referendum to win today.

PS. No news from Daniel but Miguel made the following report in his comment session:

I am OK, tried to make a post, maybe PC at home is off. Here is the post: The news in Caracas is being dominated by the heavy rains that have been falling in the last forty eight hours. In the last day Caracas registered 3.33 inches of rain, a historical record for the city for any twenty four hour period. Three people have died in Caracas, while thousands of vacationers that went to the beach near Caracas for the long Carnival weekend are stranded. There are a number of problems there. First, the highways were already in bad shape as they have never recovered from the tragedy in 2000 when mores than 40,000 people were estimated to have died when many days of rain made rocks and mud come down from the mountains and destroyed buildings and roads. This time, it is more flash flooding from heavy rains than the softening of the mountains near by, although one can not rule out a repeat if the rains continue. A second problem is the traffic from vacationers who did not realize what was happening. Some people (my brother) are trapped between two overflowed rivers. Others have been hours in traffic coming up from sea level to Caracas which is 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level. The highway is reportedly full of dirt, little rocks and mud which makes progress very slow. There are a few landslides along its length (about ten miles from the airport to Caracas) In Caracas, the Guaire river which cuts right through it lengthwise has overflowed in various parts. The subway system is not working and classes have been suspended for tomorrow. I am not in Caracas and had planned to return tomorrow but I guess I will have to wait and see, play it by ear. As I said my brother is trapped in the coastal region in his car with his family between two rivers and my mother and another sister are further beyond but they are in a high building just waiting it out.

Miguel Octavio 2/8/05; 4:27:05 PM #

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