ACAPULCO, Mexico (ISH) – Mexico reeled from the rare one-two punch of major storms on opposite coasts that triggered floods and landslides, killing scores of people while stranding tourists in Acapulco on Sept. 16.
The Pacific Coast still was being battered by the remnants of tropical storm Manuel, which continued to dump rain after dissipating, while hurricane Ingrid hit the northeast with tropical storm force before being further downgraded.
Thousands of people were evacuated as the two storms set off landslides and floods that damaged bridges, roads and homes across the country.
Water rose to almost three meters in parts of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, cutting off the main highway to the city and marooning tens of thousands of Mexican and foreign beachgoers.
The last time Mexico was hit by two tropical storms in the span of 24 hours was in 1958, officials said. But it never had been struck by a hurricane and another storm at the same time, forecasters said.
“More than two-thirds of the national territory has been affected,” Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said at a news conference.
At least 12 people died when a landslide hit a bus and workers removing earth that had previously fallen on a road in the eastern state of Veracruz, a civil protection official said.
About 23,000 people were evacuated in Veracruz with 9,000 housed in shelters, Gov. Javier Duarte said.
The death toll in the state of Guerrero rose to 30 after the municipality of Tecpán, where four rivers overflowed, reported that six people were killed in a landslide. Another 25 people are missing.
Six more people died in the central states of Hidalgo and Puebla and one in the southern state of Oaxaca, said Luis Felipe Puente, the national civil protection chief.
Around 50 towns were affected in Guerrero, with about 238,000 people seeing various levels of damage to their homes, Puente said, adding that dozens of shelters had opened for about 20,000 people.
With the highway linking Acapulco to Mexico City closed due to landslides and the resort’s airport shut down due to a power outage, about 40,000 Mexican and foreign tourists were stranded, Mayor Luis Walton said.
The continuous rain slowed the rescue effort as authorities used boats, helicopters and amphibious vehicles to find survivors, who used their smartphones to send SOS messages on social networks. The flooding also brought out crocodiles, complicating the rescue work, officials said.
At least 11 deaths were reported in Acapulco, including a family of six whose home was crushed by a landslide.