Panama flooding displaces thousands


People look at rocks and mud on a street in Portobelo, northern Panama, after a mudslide

Heavy rains and flooding in Panama have killed 10 people and forced more than 4,700 from their homes.

Panama Civil Protection System officials said more than 450 homes have been destroyed this week.

President Ricardo Martinelli said he will declare a national state of emergency allowing the government to mobilise more resources for affected areas.

The rains forced the temporary closure of the Panama Canal from Wednesday into Thursday, the first suspension since a shutdown when U.S. troops invaded 21 years ago to topple President Manuel Noriega.

This week’s closure was the first ever for weather reasons since the canal opened in 1914.

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