Another flooding disaster in the highlands of Panama leaving 17 dead.

David Dell

By David Dell

Another devastating flooding has occurred in the highlands of Panama, leaving 17 dead and 250 agricultural workers isolated. According to national and emergency media outlets.

We publish pictures obtained from social media and unfortunately we apologise for not being able to assign credits to the photographers-we show this to our many worldwide viewers in the hope that they can help the people of Chiriqui in someway.

Washed away road

The force of deluge can be gauged by the sight of these huge rocks that have been strewn across the road.

Washed away rocks on road

As a reporter I have covered several of these flooding incidents and sadly each new disaster is far worse that the last.

Washed away rocks on road

Casa Grande is one of the areas most upscale hotels and restaurants. This has been the scene of of at least two major flooding events.

Washed away rocks on road

The store to the right is a favourite stop for visitors to enjoy fresh cream and strawberries in the summer months.

Residents tell me the rain was consistent for 5 days, partially the fallout from Hurricane Eta. The power of the rain carved huge canyons totally destroying roads.

Washed away home

Person standing on the edge of the river

Person holding dog

As in all disasters there is always one ray of hope, SINAPROC ,Panama’s disaster response agency have a reputation for acting quickly, and highly professionally. This poor dog was a lucky recipient of their help.

Photo courtesy Sandra Heubner.

US army forces helping

The US Southern Command in Florida was asked for help and I was told they responded immediately.

Can these disasters be avoided in the future? This could well be the result of increased global warming. The rains here in Chiriqui have been increasing almost exponentially. Major work was done after the last big flood. Thousands of tons of rocks were placed to shore up the banks of several rivers. But the volume and ferocity of these floods have exceeded anything that flood models have anticipated.

The people that suffer the most in these circumstances are the indigenous people who work on the local farms. They tend to build their houses on the cheapest most affordable land, which normally is found alongside the banks of these treacherous rivers.

After the last disaster the government response was immediate. The tragedy is that this flood was far bigger than any could have imagined or planned for.

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