Technically there are no hurricanes in Panama, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t affected by hurricanes passing above us. Eta came through above us last week and created havoc! It was a slow moving, powerful storm that dumped SO much rain on us as it went by. There has been flooding, mudslides, and destruction. The worst of it seemed to be in the mountains north of Volcan, in the Terras Altas where the produce is grown. According to the latest news, 8 people died, 68 are missing, and 750+ are evacuated from their homes.
A member of the Facebook group – Boquete Community group gathered a lot of photos from various places so I’m posting some of them here. The ones I can identify are from the Volcan, Cerro Punta area, and the couple with the huge road washout is (or was) the road to Bocas del Torro.
There is a big outpouring of support from the people here. There are drop off locations for food, clothes, baby items, and other emergency supplies and this morning a caravan of people went up to deliver supplies. The Red Cross is also helping, and the USA has sent solders and helicopters. Many areas can’t be reached because of washed out roads so this is very helpful.
It can rain like you wouldn’t believe here in the tropics, and these occasional destructive amounts of rain can be from various types of storms. But, this time it was from the large, slow moving hurricane passing through the area. No, Panama won’t suffer a direct hit from a hurricane but I need to modify my “no hurricanes in Panama” statement to say that yes, occasionally we can be affected by one and sometimes in a big way.
This hurricane finally landed in northeast Nicaragua and then the storm moved on into Honduras. They suffered even more because not only did they get the rain, for days, but they also got the wind.
For us, we stayed in since last Sunday because of the constant rain. Wednesday was the worst as band after band of heavy storms came through the area, day and night. But, we are high and away from any threats of flooding. We had a couple banana trees fall over but that’s all. Today, finally, we got a peek at the sun and some patches of blue sky, and we went biking! It felt great to be out, and we just made it home before it started raining again. The last couple days have only been on and off drizzle but very little heavy rain, thank goodness. The storm is finally leaving our area but unfortunately, it’s over open water again where it can gather strength, and now it’s headed to Cuba and then Florida. Good luck to the people now in it’s path.
In other news, the virus testing and contact tracing teams continued to work right through the bad weather! Now they are also taking care of the many people in shelters because of the storm. The national numbers continue to be steady and dropping (except yesterday which I hope is an aberration. Word is that there are some more active pockets in the Panama City area). Here in Chiriqui province the numbers have been dropping steadily for the last couple months. This is especially great news since the economy has opened up so much in the last month. We are very thankful for everything the authorities are doing to try and keep us safe.
The recent USA election has also been decided, finally. The Panamanians are puzzled about why it took so long, so I’ve been explaining about the huge numbers of mailed in votes during this pandemic, and all the counting that had to be done. They have all be watching it closely and it’s been the first topic of conversation with everyone I’ve talked with this week.
Many of you who are in many other parts of the world continue to have a terrible time with the virus. I wish you all well, and hope you and yours stay healthy and are able to get on top of the situation! Take good care of yourselves and each other.