Flooding closes Panama Canal, forces evacuations

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 9, 2010 06:29

PANAMA CITY — Flooding forced the closure of the Panama Canal Wednesday for the first time in 21 years and heavy rains were being blamed for at least two deaths.

More than a thousand people were also evacuated because of what authorities called historic flooding.

"We're taking measures to normalize transit operations in the coming hours," Manuel Benitez, the executive vice president of canal operations, said Wednesday afternoon.

The last time the canal closed was on December 20 1989, when US troops invaded the country to topple president Manuel Noriega.


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