At least 97 dead in Mexico floods

Thursday 19 September 2013 22.30
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Rescued people are taken to safety by Mexican Federal Police officers on an inflatable dinghy in a flooded street of Acapulco
Rescued people are taken to safety by Mexican Federal Police officers on an inflatable dinghy in a flooded street of Acapulco
Floodwaters have wreaked havoc in the Pacific port
Floodwaters have wreaked havoc in the Pacific port

Tropical Storm Manuel lashed Mexico's northwest coast with heavy rains today, prompting evacuations and adding to flash floods that have unleashed chaos across Mexico and killed at least 97 people.

Storms have inundated vast areas of Mexico since late last week, wrecking roads, destroying bridges and triggering landslides that buried homes and their occupants.

Roads became raging rapids in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, stranding 40,000 tourists.

Emergency services said heavy rains were beating down on the north-western state of Sinaloa and that hundreds of people had been evacuated from coastal communities.

The US National Hurricane Center said an area of low pressure over the oil-producing southern Gulf of Mexico had a 60% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours and could dump heavy rains on already flooded areas in southern and eastern Mexico.

The fresh misery comes after tropical storms Ingrid and Manuel converged on Mexico from the Gulf and the Pacific over the weekend, triggering the flash floods.

Ingrid dissipated, but Manuel then strengthened and gained hurricane strength before it was downgraded again to a tropical storm.

More than a million people have been affected across the country, and 50,000 have been evacuated from their homes.

Winds blew off the roofs of houses and 11 rivers in the state broke their banks. Residents waded through muddy, chest-high waters in some areas.

The flooded tourist resort of Acapulco further south, which was hit by looting, was still reeling.

Tens of thousands of people remained trapped in the city, awaiting evacuation as airlines and the armed forces worked to get them home.

58 people were still missing after a mudslide in Atoyacde Alvarez, a municipality near Acapulco in Guerrero state, President Enrique Pena Nieto said last night.

The president said 288 people had already been rescued from the site.