Mérida, November 21, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- As the end of the rainy season is in sight and final preparations are being made to make the country ready to vote on Sunday, Venezuela has been inundated with rain, causing nine deaths, mudslides, electricity failures, road blockages, and flooding.
The president, Hugo Chavez, has called for calm and for confidence in the public institutions to handle the emergency. He said that the Civil Protection bodies and the firemen and women have been working on and evaluating the situation.
The municipality of Baruta in Caracas has been one of the worst affected areas, and the mayor there, Henrique Capriles has declared a state of emergency in order to “facilitate attention and deploy all our emergency services and infrastructure.”
500 people from around Caracas have been transferred to the La Ciudadela refuge.
The refuge was completed in 2005 and includes medical attention facilities, areas for children, toilets, and an eating area.
From the early hours of Friday morning government teams were out on the Prado del Este highway, in the Miranda part of Caracas, clearing debris and mud that was obstructing it. The governor, Diosdado Cabello assured that the workers would continue with the clean up through out the day as well as working to prevent any new mud slides in the area.
He also highlighted the participation of the organized communities who had been working all night with the security units. “One of the most important added values of all this is that the communal councils have been facilitating the work.”
Chavez agreed that the communities “have to be the protagonists of their own solutions,” and has also ordered the immediate execution of a special plan to help the small businesses that were affected by the intense rain on Thursday. He said that resources would be delivered by next week to the most affected.
According to Carlos Sierra, the Bolivarian Federation of Students is helping those affected by rain in the state of Vargas. A group of about 30 youth stayed on watch all of Thursday night and plan to continue as necessary.
The executive vice president, Ramon Carrizales, criticised the way the private media had handled the rain problems, “as if they are celebrating these facts and looking to somehow gain electorally from them.”
According to the Venezuelan National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology the heavy rain is expected to continue over the weekend, including on Sunday, the day of the regional elections, due to an “atmospheric instability in the intertropical convergence zone.”
The worst rain, and therefore a few electricity problems, is expected in the south west of the country.
Venezuela experiences a rainy season from May until December.