By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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
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
began Sunday night, the State Emergency Management Agency said.
At least 178 people sought safety Tuesday in shelters in several rural
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
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
most affected. More rain was forecast for Wednesday.
In neighboring St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, flash flooding on
washed out roads, but no major damage was reported.