Panama Canal, Closed by Heavy Rains, Has Reopened

The Panama Canal, a day after a rare shutdown caused by the heavy rains that have ravaged nearby Colombia, has been reopened.

"The Canal is operating now," canal authority administrator Alberto Aleman said in a statement.

The waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – and serves as a passageway for approximately 14,000 ships every year, some 36 per day – had been inoperable for 10 hours. It represents about 5 percent of the world trade, according to the canal authority.

Its last closure was during the 1989 U.S. invasion.

The deluge of rainfall has caused major flooding in Colombia, and to a lesser extent Venezuela, and spilled over to the canal. The authority said nearby rivers and reservoirs rose to historic levels.

The economic cost of shutting down the canal, which is undergoing a $5 billion expansion, was not known.

In Colombia, where the rains are the worst in at least 42 years, homes are submerged, highways are blocked, and hundreds are dead or missing.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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