Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei declared a state of calamity to address the damage caused by tropical storm Julia, now downgraded to a tropical depression.
The decision, made during a cabinet meeting, will be sent to congress for ratification in the coming days, the president said on social media on Monday.
“The damages caused by Julia, in Central America and Guatemala, are copious. We are expecting very heavy rains and already have flooding, people buried, seven affected bridges, damaged roads and people without electricity,” Giammattei said.
There was a high probability of flooding in the next 48 to 72 hours, he added, calling on people living near rivers to evacuate to higher ground or take refuge at one of the 1,858 shelters set up.
So far, the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction has reported 153,000 people affected by the heavy rains, with 1,302 people evacuated, 1,042 in shelters and two missing.
In addition, the storm damaged 17 roads and seven bridges, and destroyed one bridge.