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Tropical storm kills 15, damages homes in El Salvador

Rains from Tropical Storm Amanda left at least 15 dead and seven missing while causing extensive damage across El Salvador that pushed thousands of people into shelters amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Interior Minister Mario Durán said Monday some 7,000 people were scattered across 154 shelters. He said a quarter of the rain that the country normally receives in a year fell in 70 hours.

That set off landslides and flooding, especially in the western part of the country. A day earlier officials had said at least 900 homes had been damaged.

Vehicles stand damaged by an Acelhuate River flash flood at a neighborhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, May 31, 2020. According to the Ministry of the Interior, at least seven people died across the country after two days of heavy rains. (AP PhotoSalvador Melendez)

President Nayib Bukele visited one of the most affected communities on the outskirts of San Salvador. Some 50 families lost their homes and Bukele said the government would give them $10,000 to rebuild.

One whose home was damaged was María Torres. “We’ve never experienced this,” she said. “The rain was so strong and suddenly the water entered the homes and we just saw how they fell.”

The Legislative Assembly approved the government’s use of a $389 million loan from the International Monetary Fund to deal with the pandemic and the storm’s impact.

A man seeks to salvage some of his belongings from what used to be his home, destroyed by the waters of the Acelhuate River, in the New Israel Community of San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, May 31, 2020. According to the Ministry of the Interior at least seven people died across the country after two days of heavy rains. (AP PhotoSalvador Melendez)

El Salvador reports more than 2,500 infections and 46 deaths.

Amanda pounded the country with rain for days berfore moving ashore as a tropical storm on Sunday and pushing across Guatemala. It quickly dissipated, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center has said its renmants might form another storm in the Gulf of Mexico in coming days,

Residents salvage a couch from their home after a flash flood by Acelhuate River, in a neighborhood of San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, May 31, 2020. According to the Ministry of the Interior, at least seven people died across the country after two days of heavy rains. (AP PhotoSalvador Melendez)