The number of fatalities in heavy rains and flooding besetting parts of Panama has risen to five, President Ricardo Martinelli announced Monday.
The president spoke at the inauguration of the 20th General Assembly of the Ibero-American Association of Prosecutors, saying that two members of the Red Cross died when their vehicle was buried in a landslide in the Caribbean coastal province of Colon.
Three other deaths were registered when a father and his son were buried inside their home in a landslide in the town of Nueva Arenosa, some 55 kilometers (34 miles) west of Panama City, and authorities confirmed on Monday the death of a man who drowned Sunday in Quebrada Ancha, Colon.
Martinelli lamented the fact on Monday that the Panamanian military has only three helicopters to use in emergency cases.
In Colon, heavy rains last Friday made many homes uninhabitable, officials said.
Martinelli on Sunday declared three districts of Colon to be emergency zones.
The emergency was decreed in those zones to facilitate the provision of aid to people affected by the rains and flooding and to more effectively handle the repair of damaged roads and bridges, a government communique said.
The president told reporters that he will convene an emergency Cabinet meeting to approve a special allocation of funds to help those affected by the flooding. EFE