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Tropical storm kills 99 in Central America

Residents try to pull a tree trunk from the El Jute river to keep it from damaging a bridge in La Libertad, El Salvador, on Sunday.

Associated Press

Residents try to pull a tree trunk from the El Jute river to keep it from damaging a bridge in La Libertad, El Salvador, on Sunday.

GUATEMALA CITY — The death toll in Central America from landslides and flooding triggered by the year's first tropical storm surged to 99 on Sunday, as authorities struggled to clear roads of debris and reach cut-off communities.

Rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Agatha have pounded an area stretching from southern Mexico nearly to Nicaragua. They eased somewhat on Sunday, but rivers continued to rise and word of deaths from landslides was still filtering out from isolated areas.

As of Sunday evening, 112,000 people in Guatemala had been evacuated, many to shelters.

Government disaster relief spokesman David de Leon said 82 people were killed in the poor Central American country as rains unleashed lethal landslides across the country. Another 53 people were reported missing.

Agatha made landfall Saturday near the nation's border with Mexico as a tropical storm with winds up to 45 mph and was dissipating rapidly Sunday over the mountains of western Guatemala.

In El Salvador, President Mauricio Funes warned that the danger had not yet passed and reported nine deaths: "Although the storm appears to be diminishing in intensity, the situation across the country remains critical.''

In Honduras, eight deaths were linked to the weather.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that remnants of the storm were expected to deliver 10 to 20 inches of rain over southeastern Mexico, Guatemala and parts of El Salvador.

Tropical storm kills 99 in Central America 05/30/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 31, 2010 1:05am]

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