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Landslide hits Mexican town
Mexican authorities say at least 11 people are missing after homes buried in remote area of southern Oaxaca state.
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2010 04:11 GMT
Rescue workers are searching for the missing after the rain-triggered landslide buried up to 300 homes [AFP]  

At least 11 people are missing after a landslide triggered by relentless rain buried homes in a town in southern Mexico, the interior minister has said.

Earlier on Tuesday both, Ulises Ruiz, the Oaxaca state governor, and President Felipe Calderon said that at least seven people had been killed and 100 others were missing.

"Happily, the casualty toll has changed, so much so that we  can't even confirm any deaths" from the landslide, Jose Francisco Blake said after arriving in Oaxaca city on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day Ruiz said the water-logged hillside gave way at about 3:00 am [0800 GMT], burying between 100 and 300 homes and sparking fears that "up to 1,000" people may have died.

Ruiz said tropical depression Matthew had also heaped torrential rain on the neighbouring states of Tabasco and Chiapas.

"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.

Rescue 'difficult'

Mariana Sanchez, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Mexico City, said the remoteness of the area as well as blocked roads, are making the rescue mission very difficult.

"They have not said whether they will be able to land at the capital of Oaxaca, which is about four hours away from the affected area, or if they will be able to get closer," she said.

"There are even rescue teams who are going there by foot. But it is very dangerous, it has been raining for 12 days non-stop. Mexico says there will be rains for at least another month. Thousands in the south have already been affected."

Matthew, the 13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, has generated widespread rain in the area over the past week, threatening waterlogged sugar and coffee farms.

Residents in the region's coastal and low-lying areas have been wading through flooded streets since Monday, trying to salvage their belongings.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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