Arecibo mayor requests declaration of disaster area due to flooding

By John McPhaul

Arecibo Mayor Carlos Molina Rodríguez said Monday that he will request that that municipality be declared a disaster area due to damages suffered from flooding on Sunday, which caused one death.

“This [Monday] morning I will be submitting to the governor [Wanda Vázquez Garced] part of the damages so that she declares this [municipality] a disaster area,” Molina Rodríguez said in a radio interview.

“We know that the rains are going to come and people can move cars that are in low areas, move them and go to a relative’s house. What happened is that this caught us by surprise,” Molina Rodríguez said regarding heavy downpours that fell on Sunday in Arecibo, Camuy and Hatillo, leading the National Meteorological Service to issue a flash flood warning for those towns for several hours.

A man drowned on Sunday night when his vehicle was swept away by fast-moving floodwaters caused by heavy rains.

That incident occurred at kilometer 80.3 inland on highway PR-2 in the San Daniel neighborhood of Arecibo’s Las Canelas sector. The drowning victim was identified as Efraín Cintrón González, 77, of Arecibo.

“He was a person from the area, he tried to cross it [the highway] and the water hit him,” Molina Rodríguez said in the radio interview.

The Manuel Petaca Iguina Coliseum was set up on Sunday night as a refuge to receive families affected by floods or at risk of flooding.

The municipality offers updates on the floods through its Facebook page: Municipality of Arecibo.

Highway 653 in Barrio Barrancas, Arecibo was still impassable Monday due to the floods.

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