PANAMA CITY - Heavy rains in Panama flooded villages and caused landslides that killed at least two people and destroyed hundreds of homes, the government said on Monday.

President Ricardo Martinelli on Monday declared a state of emergency in the province of Colon, on the Caribbean coast, and Capira and Chorrera, just outside of Panama City. He called for an emergency legislative session to approve aid to the areas.

"This is more serious than people thought," Martinelli said on his Twitter account.

Heavy rains since Friday inundated parts of this small Central American country, stemming from a low pressure system extending from Colombia to Costa Rica, said Arturo Alvarado, director of the national civil protection service.

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