Mon, Jul 04, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Eleven die in Mexico as Arlene drenches nation

AFP, PACHUCA, Mexico

A man looks at an overturned car in a flooded area of El Roble, Banderilla, in Veracruz, Mexico, on Saturday.

PHOTO: EPA

At least 11 people were confirmed dead in Mexico after Tropical Storm Arlene drenched much of the country with heavy rains and left hundreds of thousands homeless, officials said on Saturday.

The first named storm of the Atlantic season barreled ashore along Mexico’s Gulf coast on Thursday, dumping several centimeters of rain in areas still recovering from last year’s wettest season on record.

The dead included five people who died overnight on Friday and early on Saturday in central Hidalgo state, where swollen rivers burst their banks and forced more than 1,000 people to evacuate their homes, Mexican Civil Protection force director Miguel Garcia said.

In the central state of Puebla, a woman was crushed to death when a tree collapsed on her house, while in the neighboring state of Veracruz one person was killed when a mudslide buried their home. Ten people were wounded in that incident.

In central San Luis Potosi state, a 19-year-old boy drowned when he was swept away by a river as he worked in the field.

Two people died in northeastern Tamaulipas state, including a bricklayer who was struck by a live electrical cable that snapped in strong winds.

Much of the country was subjected to the foul weather, including the capital Mexico City and its outskirts, where a child’s death on Friday was blamed on the storm, and the Pacific coastal resort city of Acapulco.

Mexico’s Weather Service said at least a dozen districts in central and northern Mexico were on alert for “intense and occasionally torrential” rains from the remnants of Arlene, whose winds weakened substantially after heading inland, but still carried heavy moisture.

Some 278,000 people were left homeless or otherwise impacted by the storm, according to provisional tallies.

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