A resurgent hurricane lashed Mexico’s northwest coast early yesterday after twin storms killed at least 80 people nationwide and buried a village under a massive mudslide, leaving dozens more missing.
Hurricane Manuel was “hugging” the coast of Sinaloa with winds of 120kph, threatening to spark flash floods and landslides, the US National Hurricane Center said.
Earlier this week, Manuel pummeled the southwestern Pacific coast with tropical storm force while Ingrid barreled across the east in a dual onslaught unseen since 1958.
The storms damaged bridges, caused rivers to overflow and flooded half of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, stranding tens of thousands of tourists who sought airlifts while looters ransacked stores.
Authorities on Wednesday said the death toll had risen to 80 across 12 of 32 states, but the body count could rise after the grim discovery of a huge mudslide in the mountains of southwestern Guerrero state.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said 58 people were missing after a “major landslide” collapsed on La Pintada, a remote village of 400 people west of Acapulco.
“We are not sure for the moment how many people are trapped under the mud,” Pena Nieto said.
Atoyac de Alvarez Mayor Ediberto Tabarez, who oversees La Pintada, said by telephone that at least 15 bodies have been found after more than 20 homes were crushed.
Survivors who were evacuated to Acapulco said that villagers were having lunch during independence day celebrations on Monday when a thundering noise came from the hill. Then the earth came crashing down on homes, the church and schools as people ran for their lives, according to survivors who were taken to a convention center serving as a storm shelter.
Ana Clara Catalan, 17, was preparing corn tortillas when she heard a “loud noise.”
“We ran out. It was an ugly noise, worse than a bomb,” she said. “The school, the kindergarten and the church were lost. Everything was taken.”
News of the disaster only emerged after a survivor was able to radio someone in a neighboring village.
“More than half of La Pintada was demolished, few homes were left,” said Maria del Carmen Catalan, a 27-year-old mother of three.