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At least 20 people have died in the western Venezuelan state of Merida as a result of heavy rains that have caused landslides and flooding, the WHTC reported.

A spokesman for the ruling Socialist Party in Merida announced that the authorities are working to restore telephone communications in some areas.

State Governor Ramon Guevara said earlier that more than 1,200 homes were destroyed and 17 people were missing.

Neither state nor municipal governments have the resources to help the affected areas, he said, but he instructed infrastructure specialists to work with Caracas to repair buildings and roads.

Interior Minister told state television on Wednesday that at least 54,543 people in 87 municipalities were affected by the floods.

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