San Salvador: Forty people have died in El Salvador following three days of heavy rains, Interior Minister Humberto Centeno said Sunday.
Centeno told a news conference that the deaths happened in at least five of the 14 provinces of the mountainous Central American country, where it has been raining since Thursday.
Centeno said at least two dozen of the deaths happened in the central San Vicente province. He did not provide details.
Hurricane Ida passed through Nicaragua on Thursday, slamming the country`s Atlantic coast, and damaging or destroying about 500 homes, as well as roads and bridges.
The rains in El Salvador were caused by a low pressure system off the country`s Pacific coast, and while the presence of Ida in the Caribbean may have played some indirect role in helping steer the system, the deaths are not directly linked to the hurricane, said Dave Roberts, a Navy hurricane specialist at the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Florida.
"Because Ida is in the northwest Caribbean, there is a very large weakness in the steering currents in the middle levels of the atmosphere that`s making this thing move on shore near El Salvador from the eastern Pacific," he said. "If there were deaths associated with this rainfall amount in El Salvador, I would not link it to Ida."
Ida is a Category 1 hurricane with 90-mph (145-kph) winds and is passing close to Mexico`s Yucatan peninsula.