Dozens of people have gone missing after a landslide demolished a village in southwestern Mexico. The country has been hit by hurricanes on its east and west coasts, affecting hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.
At least 58 people were listed as missing in the small village of La Pintada on Thursday, after a landside devastated the remote community of several hundred people in Mexico’s southwestern Guerrero state.
“We are not sure for the moment how many people are trapped under the mud,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said.
Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said that 334 people had been evacuated from La Pintada in police helicopters. But 45 men remained in the village and would be evacuated later on Thursday, according to Chong.
Resident Ana Clara Catalan, 17, said she heard a “loud noise” while preparing corn tortillas.
“We ran out. It was an ugly noise, worse than a bomb,” she told the AFP news agency. “The school, the kindergarten and the church were lost.”
Mexico has been simultaneously pummeled by Hurricane Ingrid on its eastern coast and Hurricane Manuel, which began as a tropical storm, on its western coast. Authorities have put the death toll from the extreme weather at 80 lives lost.
Looting in Acapulco
The southwestern resort city of Acapulco battled severe flooding, with the city’s airport terminal still submerged in knee-high water.
Mud and rocks also blocked the two highways to Mexico City, leaving tens of thousands of tourists stranded in Acapulco. Authorities said the roads would not be clear until Friday at the earliest.
Looters ransacked stores in Acapulco, stealing everything from televisions to Christmas decorations.
Military aircraft were flown in to evacuate stranded tourists, with some 5,000 people flown out since Tuesday. Officials said they hoped to evacuate 15,000 people by later on Thursday.
As people waited in line to be evacuated, tensions rose when a shorter line was created for wealthier visitors who had booked private jets.
“I ask the government that, since we all pay taxes, we all be treated the same way because the rich and the poor are equal in this tragedy,” said Leonor Carretto, 45, whose five-year-old daughter was running a fever after waiting in line for hours.
slk/ipj (AP, AFP, Reuters)