Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico storms: Hurricane Manuel makes landfall

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Media captionThe BBC's Will Grant says villages have been cut off by floodwaters

Hurricane Manuel has made landfall in north-western Mexico.

The storm, which caused extensive destruction when it tore through Mexico's south-west, is dumping torrential rain on Sinaloa state.

At least 80 people are confirmed to have died in flooding and landslides caused by Manuel and another tropical storm, Ingrid.

Rescuers are still searching for 58 people who were buried in a mudslide in Guerrero state.

Manuel re-emerged as a hurricane after hitting the south-west of the country on Sunday. It is slowly moving along Sinaloa's coastline packing maximum sustained winds of 120km/h (75mph), meteorologists said.

They warned that its path was "erratic".

Schools in Sinaloa have been closed and a fishing village of Yameto was evacuated as Manuel approached.

The resort town of Acapulco and its surrounding areas were worst hit by what was then still Tropical Storm Manuel.

Residents of La Pintada, a remote village of about 600 people north-west of Acapulco, described how the hillside buried their homes as they were holding independence day celebrations on Monday evening.

The landslide tore through the middle of the village, destroying the church, the school and the kindergarten.

"We were eating when it thundered, and when the mountain collapsed the homes were swept away and the thundering noise became louder," Erika Guadalupe Garcia told AFP news agency.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Landslides have cut off major highways linking Acapulco to Mexico City
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Damaged bridges have left tens of thousands of people stranded
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Residents tried to salvage their possessions during a short break in the rain
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands had to queue for food rations in Acapulco
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Those in more remote areas have been relying on air drops for their food
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Others fished for carp in a pond at one of Acapulco's golf courses

Ana Clara Catalan, 17, described the noise as "ugly, worse than a bomb".

"More than half of La Pintada was demolished, few homes were left," Maria del Carmen Catalan said.

Most of the residents have been now been evacuated by helicopter.

Guerrero state Governor Angel Aguirre said it was "very likely that these 58 missing people lost their lives".

With roads flooded and communication lines down, news of the landslide only emerged after a resident managed to radio someone in a neighbouring village.

Stranded

Meteorologists said Mexico was experiencing "unusual" weather as it was hit by two major storms - Manuel and Ingrid - within the space of 24 hours - something which had not happened in Mexico since 1958.

Ingrid made landfall on Monday in the town of La Pesca on Mexico's Gulf Coast. It mainly affected the state of Tamaulipas, where thousands of people were moved from low-lying areas to higher ground.

Mexico's state oil company Pemex also evacuated three platforms off the coast of Tamaulipas and closed two dozen wells.

And now the north-western coast is threatened as Hurricane Manuel, with sustained winds of up to 120km/h (75mph), is slowly moving north along the coast of Sinaloa state.

It is already causing torrential rains in Sinaloa and forecasters have warned it could trigger flash flooding and landslides.

Meanwhile, the south-western state of Guerrero is still struggling to recover from when it was it hit by Manuel on Sunday.

More than 10,000 tourists have been airlifted by military planes out of the resort town of Acapulco, where they had been stranded since the weekend.

Acapulco's civilian airport was flooded and a power cut has meant most flights have been grounded for days.

Officials said it would take at least another day to reopen the main highways leading out of Acapulco.

Renewed rainfall could further delay the clean-up.

Tens of thousands of residents continue to live in shelters and are dependent on food being dropped from helicopters.

Several stores have been looted and residents of the outskirts of Acapulco have complained about being left to fend for themselves.

"If we can't work, we have to come and get something to eat," a 60-year-old fisherman told the Associated Press news agency as he stood outside a looted supermarket.

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