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Hundreds feared dead after landslide hits Mexico town

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Hundreds feared dead after landslide hits Mexico town
September 28, 2010 12:38PM
OAXACA, Mexico — Hundreds of people were buried in their homes early Tuesday after a rain-soaked mountainside gave way in southwestern Mexico, officials said.

With rescuers delayed by other slides and flooding, villagers tried unsuccessfully to search for survivors.

"We have been using a backhoe but there is a lot of mud. We can't even see the homes, we can't hear shouts, we can't hear anything," said Donato Vargas, an official in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec who was reached by satellite phone.

He said 500 people were missing and that 300 homes were buried after the slide hit overnight.

Vargas said the slide dragged homes packed with sleeping families some 1,300 feet downhill, along with cars, animals and light poles.

"We were all sleeping and all I heard was a loud noise and when I left the house I saw that the hill had fallen," Vargas said. "We were left without electricity ... and we couldn't help them. There was no way to move the mud."

The town's mayor, Palemon Vargas Hernandez, later said 8,000 of the town's 10,000 residents were impacted. Survivors are huddled in the central part of town "and trying to find shelter," he told a radio program.

Most of the homes that weren't buried "are about to collapse," he added.

Help had not yet arrived by late morning, he added, and continued rain means more slides are possible. "We have no power, no roads," he said.

Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz earlier told the Televisa TV network that roads cut off by other slides and flooding had slowed the arrival of rescuers and machinery to dig through the rubble.

"We haven't reached the location yet," Ruiz said. "There has been lots of rain, rivers have overflowed and we're having a hard time reaching the area because there are landslides on the roads."

Ruiz said the major landslide followed days of rain in the Sierra de Juarez region.

A state official said 7 bodies had been recovered and 100 confirmed missing, but that count was viewed as very preliminary.

The town saw a small landslide on Sept. 13 that damaged several homes.

The town is about four hours' drive from the capital of Oaxaca, a city famous for its colonial buildings and nearby archeological sites.

Re: Hundreds feared dead after landslide hits Mexico town
September 28, 2010 04:04PM
El Universal posted this late this Tuesday afternoon:

El gobernador de Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz, confirmó esta tarde que hasta el momento la cifra oficial por el deslave en Santa María Tlahuiltoltepec, en la zona mixe es de 12 personas desaparecidas y cuatro muertos.

En el hangar oficial de Gobierno dijo en entrevista que personal de rescate como la Cruz Roja Mexicana, bomberos y otros más siguen en la zona, pero pidió prudencia y no especular en los datos.

"Se había hablado de 200, 300 personas afectadas, pero ahorita la cifra oficial es de 12 desaparecidos y cuatro fallecidos", expresó.

Mencionó que en Tlahuiltoltepec se encuentra el Ejército mexicano así como demás instancias federales y estatales que van en apoyo.

The govenor asks people not to speculate on numbers. Right now the official numbers are four dead and 12 missing.

Howard Platt, Manzanillo
Re: Hundreds feared dead after landslide hits Mexico town
September 29, 2010 09:25PM
see PUerto Escondido forum for more...
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