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Heavy rains hammer Central America; 36 dead

October 14, 2011

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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador—Heavy rains generated by a low-pressure system hammered Central America for a third day Friday, putting officials on alert in countries where mudslides and swollen rivers have already killed 36 people.

At least 21 people have been killed in Guatemala and thousands of others were evacuated or saw their homes destroyed by the incessant downpours.

In El Salvador, rivers have overflowed their banks, destroying villages and prompting an evacuation of about 4,000 people from their homes, the country's disaster management office said in a statement Friday.

In Honduras, six people have been killed in floods and the roads connecting the nation to Guatemala have been destroyed. Other communities have been left isolated by the floods. In Nicaragua, four people have died this week.

The system is expected to hover over the region for the next couple of days, generating more rainfall, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Irwin was weakening and drifting away from Mexico in the Pacific, three days after Hurricane Jova slammed into the same coast, killing six people.

Irwin's maximum sustained winds as of Friday afternoon were near 45 mph (75 kph), and the storm could begin weakening on Saturday, the hurricane center said.

Irwin was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) west of Manzanillo, Mexico, and moving south-southeast at about 2 mph (4 kph).

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