Disasters & Accidents

At least 21 killed in Mexico as hurricane Eta wreaks havoc in Central America

Mexico/Panama, Nov 7 (efe-epa).- Torrential rains have killed at least 21 people and affected around 80,0000 in southeastern Mexico in the wake of cyclonic storm Eta, which has left a trail of destruction across Central America over the past few days, with hundreds reported dead or missing.

The Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States, currently presided by Mexico, on Friday urged that the North American country be included in the appeal for international assistance due to the devastation caused by Eta in Central America.

“We have requested that (southern state) Tabascobe included in the appeal for humanitarian aid made yesterday, due to the intense rain in recent days. International cooperation is the pillar of peaceful relations between people,” the organization said.

Heavy rains this week left at least 10 indigenous people of the Tzotzil community dead and more than 2,000 houses destroyed in the Chiapas Highlands area, the Chamula municipality reported after a landslide.

Authorities have also found nine other bodies in different towns of the state, linked to people being dragged away by strong currents after rains.

In the tourist city of San Cristobal de las Casas, more than 20 districts were damaged by rains and overflowing rivers, according to Pablo Reyes, director of the municipal civil protection unit.

The rivers Amarillo and Fogotico breached their banks in different parts of their paths that cross the city in the east to south direction, forcing many people to abandon their houses since Thursday.

At least 200 people have been moved to shelters or houses of family members by rescue teams.

Meanwhile, in Tabasco, the home state of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, two people have been killed, and around 80,000 affected as 10 rivers were overflowing.

The state civil protection institute reported that one person had drowned in the city of Nacajuca while another had met the same fate in the town of Centro.

Governor Adan Augusto Lopez warned that the emergency caused by rains and floods had reached “its most critical point.”

He warned that the next 24 hours could be decisive for Tabasco and the capital Villahermosa, which has been hit by unprecedented floods due to overflowing rivers in the Chiapas valley.

President Lopez Obrador said in a press conference Friday morning that he was “aware” of the flood situation in Tabasco caused by the new cold front which had hit the state.

Eta made landfall in Nicaragua as a powerful hurricane on Tuesday and weakened to a tropical depression by the time it reached Honduras on Wednesday, but has caused widespread damage across the region.

At least 150 people lost their lives in Guatemala, according to unofficial figures provided by President Alejandro Giammattei.

The storm caused floods and landslides across the country, destroying bridges, cutting off roads, and leading to widespread damage to crops and power supply, especially in rural areas.

Thousands of Guatemalans remain cut off awaiting aid in northern districts such as Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, and Izabal.

Honduras has also sought urgent international assistance as the storm killed 23 people and affected over 1.6 million in the country. At least two people were still missing while over 16,000 had been rescued, civil protection authorities said Friday.

The death toll has climbed to eight in Panama, where 68 people remain missing according to authorities, which have still not been able to reach communities cut off due to landslides or washed away roads.

Authorities said some of the over 30,000 people evacuated to shelters were returning to their homes.

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