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  #1  
Old 23 Oct 2008
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Flooding & severe damage in Central America

This situation is not at all being covered by the news media in the U.S.

There is currently heavy flooding and infrastructure damage over large portions of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and Costa Rica. The president of Honduras has called a nationwide state of emergency and has ordered numerous measures be taken, including the use of special funds for emergency repairs, food, and housing; and directing private contractors to cease work on contracted jobs so that they shall attend to emergencies.

There have been heavy rains for several weeks, and a tropical storm 91L has sat off the north coast for the past several days. The Humuya River in northern Honduras is normally 2 feet deep, NOAA reports that it is currently 21 feet deep. Wunderground.com reports over a foot of rain in the past week, 70 communities in Guatemala cut off from the rest of the country, and some areas of Honduras are seeing worse flooding than from Hurricane Mitch of 1998.

COPECO, the Honduran emergency management authority, reports 133 damaged roads including 54 damaged bridges and vados (low areas of the road designed to drain off water). COPECO reports that 142,000 people have been significantly affected and 22,000 evacuated. The Ulua River has flooded much of the city of El Progresso near San Pedro Sula.

The main highway between San Pedro Sula and the capital Tegucigalpa is in a bad state near Comayagua, some cars can pass but the trucks are shut down. As a result, there is no fuel in some areas. Parts of Tegucigalpa and its sister city Comayaguela are flooded. The roads around Marale, an area between Guaimaca and Yoro, are impassable. I spoke to my contacts near Guaimaca by cell phone yesterday and they said there is a bridge out near Guayape, a ways east of Marale. It is likely this large area, serviced only by dirt roads, is in a bad state. However, I am told that the Talanga/Guiamaca area has received heavy rain but minimal damage.

Roads near Nueva Ocotopeque, Copan Ruinas, and Santa Barbara de Copan, which include the main entrances to Honduras from Guatemala and El Salvador, are in a bad state and may not be passable.

In Guatemala, the president has declared emergencies for 21 municipalities in the northeast. The emergency management authority reports that there are over 40,000 victims including 10,200 evacuees and 4368 damaged homes.

In Costa Rica, the emergency management authority reports 80,000 significantly affected by the flooding and widespread infrastructure damage.

Reports of heavy damage in Belize, but no details.

There is another tropical storm "43" forming in the area now.

This summary is my best attempt with the limited info at this time, and taking into account that my Spanish is mediocre.

I rode through Chiapas and Guatemala a week after Hurricane Stan (also ignored by the media in the U.S.), and I can testify that these flooding events are devastating. I have not heard reports on how Chiapas has been affected by this latest flooding, but there are certainly vulnerable areas.

I am packed and ready to return to Honduras, but at this time I am waiting for waters to recede and emergency repairs. The route does not seem to be passable at this time, based on these cited reports.

If anyone has more info or specifics, please post.
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Old 23 Oct 2008
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Very good info to know. Thank you for posting that.
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  #3  
Old 23 Oct 2008
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Today's update from Dr. Jeff Masters at Wunderground.com:

One of this hurricane season's biggest disasters continues to unfold in Central America, where the death toll now stands at 39 from ten days of heavy rains triggered by last week's Tropical Depression Sixteen and this week's tropical disturbance 91L. At least 10,000 homes have been destroyed and 250,000 people made homeless by the floods. Hardest hit is Honduras, where 23 are dead and 8 missing in flash floods and landslides. Approximately 60% of the nation's roads have been damaged, and the flooding is the worst since Hurricane Mitch of 1998 killed 10,000 people there. The past week's flooding has also killed four in Guatemala, seven in Costa Rica, four in Nicaragua, and four in El Salvador. In Belize, damage is at least $15 million from the floods, and some areas are seeing flooding worse than was experienced during Hurricanes Mitch and Keith. Satellite estimates suggest that up to a foot of rain has fallen over some parts of Central America in the past week. The heavy damage to crops across the region will likely cause severe food shortages in coming months, and substantial international aid will be required.
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Old 23 Oct 2008
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Thanks for the heads -up Mike. It is indeed atrocious the way in which Anglo-American news media ignore such important stories unfolding in the southern neighbour countries and devote most of their time to junk like Hollywoodsy Brittany-updates.
For anyone interested in more background they might try online sources like Thousands of newspapers on the Net and you can click on each individual country in Central America to get a selection of their national papers which do cover these events.
Also check out TvAzteca.com - La tele como tu quieres. then click on "hechos' then to "estados" for Mexican news events worth knowing about.
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Old 25 Oct 2008
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FYI, we were in Belize yesterday onroute to Guatemala. The road was flooded and not passable by motorcycle.

One bridge reported to be 14 feet under water and on the main highway the water as over the suspension bridge at San Ignacio and Santa Elena (Macal River). Only heavy verhicle were allowed to pass and we were told higher levels of water were expected.

So we are attempting to loop around Belize and are currently in Palenque, Mexcio again. We'll head south tomorrow to San Cristobal de las Casas and then south towards Guatemala.

The weather forcast for the next couple of days has improved but the rivers are overflowing (even here in Mexico) and it could take some time for them to return to more normal levels.

We'll try to keep our blog updated Your Mileage May Vary .. but that depends on Internet availability. We do however have a SPOT and you can follow our location from our site as the SPOT only requires a clear view of the sky.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Thanks for the info
I hope it will settle down by December/January, that's when we will be going through Central America.
Johan
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Old 28 Oct 2008
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Mud Slide on CA1 (PanAm Highway) in Guatemala

Just a quick post as we just settled into our hotel room and will be heading out for dinner in a few minutes....

The Central American Highway 1 - PanAm Highway, 34 km south of Huehuetenango, Guatemala is currently closed due to a large mud slide.

We stopped for lunch in Huehuetenango and proceeded south on CA1 when we came to a line of stopped vehicles. A few minutes a fellow motorist advised us there was a mud slide ahead and the road would be closed for at least 2 more hours. He suggested we might be able to fit through with our "motos," so we made our way to the head of the line.

What we found was a large mud slide that had occured earlier in the day. Heavy rains appread to have caused, what looked like 300 feet of a side of a mountain, to collapse on the highway. It must have happened quickly as the mud picked up an 18 wheeler tractor trailer, lifting it into the air and off the highway. It sat about 10 feet in the air, off the highway, leaning against some trees on the opposite side of the road. The locals said the driver was ok.

We waited about 2 1/2 hours until about 4:30 pm and then decided to return to Huehuetenango before sunset (5:30 pm). The roads have a lot of mud and debris on them and we wanted to negotiate them before nightfall.

I expect the road will be opened tomorrow as two heavy equipment tractors were working away at the mud slide, however the mountain continued to trickle down as they worked away.

On the positive side, we met a couple of adventure riders from the UK enroute to TDF along with all manner of locals and tourists riding the "chicken bus." The busses were pulling up to each side of the mud slide and exchanging passengers. You can't make this stuff up!

After dinner I'll try to post pictures on our blog Your Mileage May Vary

The location of the mudslide is: 15.087,-91.5175

Tomorrow, if we get past this location we will use our SPOT to indicate we have passed this area. It will post to our web page without us needing to find an Internet connection. This could be useful if you are heading this way.
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Last edited by BMWRC; 28 Oct 2008 at 05:10.
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Old 28 Oct 2008
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Just got into Panama City after riding through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica over the past ten days or so. Yes, lots of rain (every day) and landslides, but nothing insurmountable. Just ask about particular roads from locals before proceeding (sometimes the long way is shorter than the short way), and even if a landslide, they are usually able to clear them up within a day, or you can sometimes go around. So shouldn´t be a reason not to ride. The roads are generally pretty good, except for northern Guatemala where the steep hills crumble onto the road, unless you get off the Pan Americana, and then it just depends. But overall, had a few detours and delays, but no real problems.
J
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Old 3 Nov 2008
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A quick update

We are now in Granada, Nicarauga. We haven't seen much rain since we passed through the mudslide a week ago. Right on schedule too. We are nearing the rainy season, as I understand it.

The roads have been fine for the most part. The usual cautions apply... avoid pot holes, as some are deep enough to swollow a wheel.
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Old 4 Nov 2008
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Thanks much for the heads-up. I am in currently in "Base Camp Oaxaca" Mexico, taking 5 days of spanish lesson, posed to head south next week, but might hang here longer, until thing sort themselves out...

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Old 4 Nov 2008
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Insurance,central And Soth America

Can Any One Advise Me On The Insurance For South America And Central America I Can Get Cover For Mexoco But Motor Cycle Express Do Not Provide Primary Cover For Belize , Nicaragua Argentina ,colombia ,or Costa Rica, Do You Purchase Insurance At The Boarders Any Advise Would Help
Geff , Ak The Lost Biker
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Old 4 Nov 2008
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Peter, we have not seen much rain for a week now. Mostly a shower here and there.

But we are now in Costa Rica now (after over 3 hours at the border today... ugh!) and unfortunately the forcast here is for thundershowers for tonight and the rest of the week.

We try to check the forcast at the Weather Underground or another of the weather sites when we have an Internet connection.

Enjoy your adventure!

Cheers
Robert


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Bodtke View Post
Thanks much for the heads-up. I am in currently in "Base Camp Oaxaca" Mexico, taking 5 days of spanish lesson, posed to head south next week, but might hang here longer, until thing sort themselves out...

Peter Bodtke

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