UPDATE: The death toll from torrential rains and mudslides in Venezuela has risen to 32 people dead and 70,000 homeless. In an angry rhetorical, President Hugo Chavez blamed the devastation on “criminal” capitalism and the “arrogance” of rich nations.
The President has taken over rescue and emergency operations and continues to invite homeless families to live in the Presidential palace which would only benefit 25 families. He has also ordered other ministries in the country to offer shelter.
ORIGINAL STORY: The non-stop torrential rains in Venezuela has forced the country to declare a state of emergency in four states including the capital city of Caracas. The government of President Hugo Chavez is reporting at least 5,600 have been left homeless and at least 20 have died.
Schools in the hardest hit regions are closed with thousands of people living in temporary shelters. President Chavez has offered to put up the homeless in the Presidential palace an offer that has not been taken up yet.
Many of the deaths were the result of landslides that occurred in the poorest regions where housing is built out of hillsides. The rain is expected to continue for several more days.