Hugo Chavez is letting dozens of people made homeless by Venezuelan flooding crash at his palace, and he told them yesterday—as the death toll hit 25—that they can stay there until the government finds them new homes. Visiting a slum, the AP reports that Chavez urged other residents to evacuate: “They told me that you did not want to leave until Chavez came. Well, here I am.” Chavez also said he’d call for military buildings to be evacuated for refugees’ use.
Some 5,000 people are homeless thanks to torrential rain, and 33,000 have been placed in 259 shelters in case of further damage, said an official. A state of emergency has been declared in three states, as well as the capital.