28/11/2012 - Minister of the Presidency Roberto Henríquez said today that the recent flooding that has devasted parts of Panama is "nature's revenge" against man to ensure that it respects it more.
However, Henriquez also acknowledged that part of the blame resides with "some sectors of society," namely developers and construction companies who were in charge of the building in the affected neighborhoods.
He said, though, that the government is focused on helping those in need and not assigning blame.
"First of all, we must attend to the Panamanians who are not sleeping at home and are suffering from cold and hunger," the minister said.
Meanwhile, the search continued today for two Red Cross workers who are missing and presumed dead after their vehicle was swept away by a landslide in the Quebrada Ancha area.
Teams from Panama are being assisted by search and rescue teams from Colombia, Mexico and Costa Rica. The bodies are thought to be buried in mud from the landslide.
While that effort continues, blame for the disaster is already being assigned by civic groups. Frente Amplio por Colón Leader Felipe Cabezas said that one of the proposals presented at the dialogue table was to attend to the urgent problems in that province regarding stormwater drainage. In his view, the flooding was preventable.
"Colón has become Venice," he said, referring to the Italian city famous for its canals.
He said that deforestation around the city has contributed to the problem.
Alejandro Gansi, of the Citizen Assembly, assured that the government has not taken into account warnings made by environmental organizations, saying that mangrove destruction is one of the reasons the flooding was so devastating.
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