Eleven Die in Veracruz as Mexico Storms Kill More Than 100

Saturday, 21 Sep 2013 07:38 AM

 

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MEXICO CITY — Twin hurricanes that battered Mexico on both coasts left more than 100 people dead after 11 were reported killed in a landslide in Veracruz yesterday, causing the president to suspend his trip to the United Nations General Assembly opening.

Dozens are still missing in the coffee-growing village of La Pintada after a mountain collapsed on their homes in the southern state of Guerrero, which was hardest hit by the rain. Manuel weakened from a hurricane to a tropical depression yesterday after going onshore on Mexico’s Pacific coast, the latest in a series of storms that authorities say caused record rainfall that extended across the country.

The Army is struggling to evacuate villagers from remote outposts where mountains have collapsed or are at risk of toppling, Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong said. Hurricane Ingrid on the east coast and Hurricane Manuel’s first blow as a tropical storm on the Pacific drove more than 50,000 people from their homes and stranded 40,000 more in the resort city of Acapulco, which is also in Guerrero.

Veracruz has emitted “special alerts for remote towns,” the state’s civil protection minister Noemi Guzman said in a press conference broadcast on Milenio TV yesterday. “There’ve been 121 landslides” across the state.

At least 68 people were missing after the landslide in Guerrero, Osorio Chong said Sept. 19. A Black Hawk helicopter from the Mexican Federal Police disappeared amid rescue efforts.

Manuel weakened after making landfall west of Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa yesterday and storm warnings have since been lifted. The rains killed three people and affected 100,000 more in Sinaloa, Radio Formula said yesterday.

“Rains registered in the past days are historically the most intense due to their extension,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said in Acapulco yesterday. He suspended his New York trip next week to provide his “full attention and follow-through on all actions to help the nation.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, on a previously scheduled trip to Mexico City to meet with Pena Nieto, said the U.S. stands willing to aid Mexico in storm recovery and that the U.S. government is providing $250,000 to help communities hardest hit by the storms.

Mexico’s six refineries are operating normally, a press official at state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos said yesterday. In addition, the highway from Acapulco to Mexico City reopened after mudslides were cleared from the road, according to the Communications and Transportation Ministry.

It was the second direct hit by the storm, which struck the country farther south over the weekend.

Ricardo Sala, a 45-year-old Mexico City resident who spent last weekend’s long Independence Day weekend in Acapulco, was stuck in his timeshare property after the highway back to the capital closed. He and his wife and daughter struggled to find clean running water amid a scarcity of fresh fruit and vegetables at the grocery store near the hotel in the resort city, Sala said.

Mexico’s two largest airlines, Grupo Aeromexico SAB and Interjet, along with the army, have flown more than 15,000 stranded tourists for free to Mexico City from Acapulco after heavy rain limited the airport’s services.

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