The aftermath of the heavy rains and floods in Panama is hitting the nation’s pocket book and transportation.
The Cabinet met yesterday (Dec. 10) to formalize the state of emergency declared by President Ricardo Martinelli and to give the green light to the Ministry of Economy and Finance to ask the National Assembly to temporarily suspend the limits set by the law of fiscal responsibility covering spending and borrowing.
The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) is assessing how much it will cost to repair roads damaged by landslides and flooding while weather forecasters are promising up to three more days of rain
Some of the worst damage was the collapse of an access road leading to the Centennial Bridge which promises further traffic chaos for commuters and shoppers in the days leading up to Christmas.
The access roads have been a constant source of problems since completion of the bridge was rushed through in time for an official opening ceremony by exiting president, Mireya Moscoso. It became known as the bridge with no access.
Minister of Public Works Federico Suárez said Friday that the structural integrity of the bridge has not been impacted by the collapse the road. He said it is an independent structure, and has a different base than the access roads on either side.
Repairs are being made he said and the ministry is working with transportation agency ATTT to ensure that there is as little impact on rush hour traffic as possible..
Trucks and heavy equipment have been banned on the road and will have to use the Bridge of the Americas. There is also severe damage on the Boyd-Roosevelt Highway connecting Panama City and Colon.
Freight vehicles, and west bound passenger transport will have to use the Bridge of the Americas.
To reach Colon only the Alberto Motta highway can be used.
Reports from the Electric Transmission Company, SA (Etesa) show , no improvement in tweather conditions forecasting three more days of rain on the coasts of the Kuna Yala and the provinces of Colon, Cocle, Panama, east, central and west and north basin Bayano .
Search for victims in the area east of Panama continues, but rescuers of the National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc), have recovered the last two bodies Wednesday from a family that was buried by a landslide in the historic town of Portobelo in Colon. Late Friday, two bodies from another family were still being sought.
Residents of the areas of Panama east, affected by the floods, filed a complaint to determine whether AES Panama committed willful misconduct or negligence in opening the sluice gates of the dam at Bayano.