Death toll from tropical storm Earl rises to 42 in Mexico

MEXICO CITY — The death toll from tropical storm Earl has risen to 42 in Mexico, the country’s civil protection authorities said Monday.

“We have an official figure of 29 people that have lost their lives in Puebla and in Veracruz there are 12. Today we are still getting reports of missing people,” said Luis Felipe Puente, national coordinator of civil protection under the Interior Ministry.

Puente said that the fatal incidents were mainly due to landslides on hillsides and irregular settlements.

According to the coordinator, federal and state authorities as well as the army have moved to the affected places since Sunday in order to attend to the emergency.

Puente acknowledged that access to some houses was very difficult mainly in Puebla of central Mexico and Veracruz’s high mountain area, since “they are very small dirt tracks” and landslides have been registered all over the mountain.

In Veracruz along Mexico’s east coast, 29 municipalities were declared a state of emergency, with more than 10,000 people affected, said an official report.

Earl moved on to the southeast of Mexico after first hitting the neighboring country of Belize as a category one hurricane on Aug. 4. It formed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The weather phenomenon brought rainfalls in 13 of Mexico’s states, the heaviest in Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, Oaxaca in the south, and San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

The southern state of Guerrero also reported damage caused by floods in six municipalities on Monday.

Another tropical storm, Javier, which formed in the Pacific Ocean, has also hit the southern Baja California peninsula, causing heavy rains and gusty winds. The storm is expected to move to the southwest of the United States by midweek. PNA/Xinhua/