According to Venezuelan VP, heavy rains have killed 21 people nationwide, with other 56,000 people affected and 5,600 homeless in shelters
The Venezuelan government declared on Tuesday the state of emergency in coastal Vargas state, north central Miranda state and the Capital District as a consequence of heavy rains in the last hours, Vice President Elías Jaua said.
"We made a recommendation to the Head of State, Commander Hugo Chávez Frías, on extending the emergency decree in order to include the Capital District, the state of Vargas and Miranda state," said Jaua.
"We found that rains will continue for the next three days at least, and this begins to have an impact on the victims of the Capital District, and Vargas and Miranda states," said Jaua to state-run Venezolana de Televisión.
The vice president added that the state of emergency does not imply that there is more danger than before in the areas involved.
"It is important to clarify to people that the declaration of emergency (...) allows us to take extraordinary actions to address the situation of rain and temporarily occupy all the spaces needed to provide adequate care to people," he said.
Jaua disclosed the death toll so far in the country. "Twenty-one people have died since heavy rains started, from last Thursday to today (Tuesday). There are some 56,000 people affected, about 5,600 homeless people, who had to leave their homes and were taken to permanent shelters," Jaua added.
He noted that northwestern Falcón state is the most seriously hit area in Venezuela.
"Falcón state is affected in its entire territory, in all municipalities. Some areas are isolated because roads are flooded, and air aid operations have been virtually impossible due to heavy rains in the past four days in the area," he noted.
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.