The Associated Press
May 8, 2001
Floods Damage Homes in Puerto Rico


              SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Gov. Sila Calderon declared a state of
              emergency for parts of Puerto Rico on Tuesday after floods forced residents to flee
              their homes in the U.S. territory and caused more than $146 million in damages.

              Calderon also asked President Bush to declare the island a federal disaster area,
              which would free up more emergency funds. The local measure covered 22 towns
              and authorized up to $12 million in disaster-relief spending.

              More than 1,860 homes have been damaged island-wide by rains and flooding that
              began Sunday night, the State Emergency Management Agency said.

              At least 178 people sought safety Tuesday in shelters in several rural southwestern
              towns, it said.

              Highways and bridges were underwater in the southwest, and mudslides and
              overflowing rivers had destroyed crops and caused roads to buckle.

              On Sunday night, one man was swept away by the water while trying to cross a
              bridge by foot in the town of Yauco, police said. Another man died in the area when
              his truck was carried away as he crossed a river, police said.

              The small towns of Guanica, Guayanilla, Lajas, Yauco and Hormigueros were the
              most affected. More rain was forecast for Wednesday.

              In neighboring St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, flash flooding on Monday night
              washed out roads, but no major damage was reported.