October 19th, 2011
12:45 PM ET

Central American rains a reminder of Mitch

The death toll from recent rain and flooding in Central America rose to at least 91 Wednesday as the deluge rivaled what the region witnessed during the deadly Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

The deadliness of the current disaster is much smaller than Mitch - which killed some 11,000 people - but the large amounts of rain are causing similar damage: washed out bridges, landslides, flooding and river overflows.

"We think of hurricanes as the thing that causes the most damage, but you can have rains that are just as damaging without the hurricane," Herman Rosa Chavez, El Salvador's minister of the environment and natural resources, told CNN.

Already, the rain in El Salvador has tripled the average rainfall for the month of October.

Gauges in the country were registering recent rainfall as high as 55 inches. In comparison, Hurricane Mitch dumped between 50 and 70 inches of rain in the Central American region.

"This phenomenon is of great magnitude," Rosa Chavez said.

A vital difference between the death toll now and in 1998 is that during Mitch, the rainfall came in a matter of a few days. This time, the precipitation has come over a period of more than a week.

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Filed under: Costa Rica • El Salvador • Flooding • Guatemala • Honduras • Nicaragua • Weather
Tuesday's live video events
March 22nd, 2011
07:44 AM ET

Tuesday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the conflict in Libya and the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - Obama heads to El Salvador - President Obama begins his day in Chile, but he'll soon be headed to El Salvador as nears the conclusion of his tour of Latin American countries.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Barack Obama • Chile • District of Columbia • Earthquake • El Salvador • Hillary Clinton • Japan • Natural Disasters • New York • Nuclear • On CNN.com today • Politics • Tsunami • U.S. • World
November 10th, 2010
11:41 AM ET

Fire kills at least 16 at youth detention center

At least 16 young people died and 22 were injured Wednesday at a juvenile detention center in El Salvador, said Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde, the interim chief for the national civil police force.

The cause had not been determined, Ramirez said, but officials suspect an electrical short-circuit. Police also are investigating whether the deaths occurred as the result of a riot, the chief said.

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Filed under: El Salvador • World