CARACAS – The death toll from the incessant rains in Venezuela has risen to 34, Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami said.
The government is devoting “body and soul” to dealing with the emergency, the minister said.
The latest victims, a 52-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man, died in the state of Tachira when the automobile they were riding in was buried by a landslide, El Aissami told VTV by telephone.
“There are tragedies occurring that fill us with much sorrow ... With these two new deaths, the number of dead nationwide is 34,” El Aissami said.
The Venezuelan government declared a state of emergency last week in the western and coastal states of Falcon, Miranda and Vargas, and in the Capital District, which up to now has been the area most severely hit by the rains, there are – according to official figures – more than 70,000 people who have been affected.
The government has opened hundreds of shelters, some of them improvised like the one at a large Caracas business center that was expropriated in 2009, and groups of people have also been housed in hotels in the capital, the press reported.
At least 60 stretches of road have been buried by landslides around the country and about 23 bridges have been damaged, Vice President Elias Jaua said.