El Salvador death toll rises to 19 as heavy rains continue

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — The torrential rains hitting El Salvador caused the deaths of another six people on Friday when two girls and four adults were killed after being buried in their homes. Wall collapses and landslides on the outskirts of the capital brought a total of 19 dead.

​​Two weather systems — one along Guatemala’s Pacific coast and the other in the Gulf of Mexico that developed Tropical Storm Alberto — have brought saturating rains to southern Mexico and Central America.

The Civil Protection authorities of El Salvador issued a red alert and the country's Congress declared a state of national emergency for 15 days because of the severity of the rains.

The death of the two girls, ages 5 and 7, was confirmed by the country’s Rescue Commands and the Civil Protection, which alerted residents to the danger of landslides because of the accumulation of water that can cause walls to collapse.

According to the official report, a wall collapsed on the girls' house and after several hours of work, they recovered their lifeless bodies. The parents of the minors were rescued alive and taken to a local hospital.

Civil Protection also reported four additional deaths on the rural southern outskirts of San Salvador.

Two older people in the Panchimalco district and two other people in the Planes de Renderos area died after walls collapsed at their their homes.

The director of Civil Protection Luis Alonso Amaya said that “we have already resolved a little more than 1,500 incidents. Among these are 19 dead people, 706 fallen trees, and 521 temporarily obstructed roads. Two of those trees caused the death of three people.”

The Observatory of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, or MARN, reported that persistent rains would continue throughout the country.

Low pressure conditions could lead to the formation of a second tropical depression, behind Alberto, in the southwest Gulf of Mexico this weekend. This system will continue to bring abundant humidity from the Pacific Ocean, keeping the storm over El Salvador.

Salvadoran authorities have prepared 150 shelters to serve more than 6,000 people nationwide, of which 82 are active, providing protection to 2,582 people, including 1,212 minors.