Home International Mudslide latest disaster for hard-hit Mexico

Mudslide latest disaster for hard-hit Mexico


Mexico City : A mudslide in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, near its border with the state of Tabasco, has buried at least 60 houses and left at least 16 people missing, the Mexican interior ministry said.

Unofficial reports gave a death toll of up to 30, according to the daily El Universal, which reported some 100 houses were buried, although there were no immediate official figures on fatalities and injuries.

The disaster was the latest to strike the water-sodden region on Mexico’s southern Gulf coast, where thousands of people remained stranded by flood waters and more than 800,000 have been left homeless.

More than a week of heavy rains has flooded 80 percent of the state of Tabasco and at least 22 municipalities in Chiapas. The floods have been blamed for five deaths.

Tabasco Governor Andres Granier Monday declared the centre of the Mexican city of Villahermosa, capital of the state of Tabasco, off-limits in an attempt to prevent looting.

After the mudslide, the Chiapas state government said several people had been taken to nearby hospitals. Some 500 people live in the affected area.

The mudslide occurred in the village of San Juan del Grijalva, in the municipality of Ostuacan, caused by softening of the ground following intense rain.

The water level has been falling slowly since Sunday.

Plunderers had already hit private homes and shops and authorities feared the situation could worsen as the water levels fall. Many people had refused to leave their homes in order to protect their belongings.

More than 40 suspects had been arrested, the daily Diario de la Tarde reported.

The authorities have confirmed five deaths from the flooding – four in Chiapas and one in Tabasco – although unofficial sources have said the death tool could be eight.

The daily El Universal reported Monday that rescue teams in the outskirts of Villahermosa found a three-metre-long crocodile. There are fears that these animals, which normally live on riverbanks, may move into inhabited areas.

In the early hours of Monday, a spokesman for health authorities said there were no signs of epidemics like malaria, hepatitis A, influenza or dengue fever spreading. However, 300 doctors have launched a broad vaccination campaign.