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Mexico storms kill 42, floods strand thousands

  • Published at 03:11 am September 17th, 2013
Mexico storms kill 42, floods strand thousands

Two powerful storms pummelled Mexico as they converged from the Pacific and the Gulf on Monday, killing at least 42 people and stranding some 40,000 tourists in the Pacific resort of Acapulco amid some of the worst flooding in decades.

Tropical Depression Ingrid battered Mexico’s northern Gulf coast, shutting some of the country’s oil operations, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Manuel lashed the Pacific coast, inundating the popular tourist hub.

Even as Ingrid and Manuel weakened, the storms continued to unleash massive rains that have killed at least 42 people in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan and Oaxaca, national emergency services said.

Landslides buried homes and a bus in the eastern state of Veracruz, while thousands were evacuated from flooded areas, some by helicopter, and taken to shelters.

Residents waded neck deep in brown muddy waters, while some wended down flooded streets in dinghies, pedal boats and on jet skis. Waters churned through streets, converting them into dangerous rapids that swept away cars.

State oil monopoly Pemex said it had evacuated three oil platforms and halted drilling at some wells on land due to the storms.

Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton told reporters that 40,000 tourists were stranded in the city.

The popular Princess Hotel’s parking lots and golf course were under water, as was much of the city’s plush Diamante district home to top-end hotels.

“Tomorrow is another day, and we will just have to check whether or not the highway re-opens,” hotel worker Martila Flores said by telephone.

In the resort city alone, at least 21 people were killed as buildings collapsed and roads were transformed into raging rivers, said Constantino Gonzalez, an official with Guerrero state emergency services.

“Unfortunately, the majority of the deaths have occurred here in Acapulco due to landslides that completely buried homes,” said Gonzalez. The national meteorological service forecast rains would continue through Wednesday.

President Enrique Pena Nieto inspected the storm damage in Acapulco and other flooded parts of Guerrero state by air on Monday evening. “We have a plan to arrange for government funds to help,” he told reporters.

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