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Deadly Mexico storms leave thousands stranded

At least 80 people left dead across country in aftermath of two tropical storms, as police tackle looting in Acapulco.

Last Modified: 19 Sep 2013 11:56
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A resurgent hurricane has lashed Mexico's northwest coast again after twin storms killed at least 80 people nationwide and buried a village under a massive mudslide, leaving dozens more missing.

Hurricane Manuel was "hugging" the coast of Sinaloa with winds of 120km per hour, threatening to spark flash floods and landslides, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Earlier this week, Manuel pummeled the southwestern Pacific coast with tropical storm force while Ingrid barreled across the east in a dual onslaught unseen since 1958.

The storms damaged bridges, caused rivers to overflow and flooded half of  the Pacific resort of Acapulco, stranding tens of thousands of tourists who sought airlifts while looters ransacked stores.

Ricardo de la Cruz, national civil protection director general, said on Wednesday the fatalities had occurred across a dozen states.

Tens of thousands of people have been trapped in the aftermath of the storms that have hammered vast swathes of Mexico. More than one million people have been affected.

Looting broke out in Acapulco on Wednesday, as thousands of tourists lined up in the hope of getting on emergency aircraft, after the resort's airport terminal was submerged by water.

Alligators in streets

Shops were plundered in the city's upscale neighborhood of Diamante, home to luxury hotels and plush apartments, where dozens of cars were ruined by muddy brown floodwaters.

Marines were posted outside stores to prevent further theft.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't looting from need of food. It was stealing for stealing's sake," said Mariberta Medina, head of a local hoteliers' association.

Food and bottled water were scarce, and cash was hard to come by after power outages knocked out bank machines.

The storm was expected to hit Baja on Friday, at which time Manuel could be close to hurricane strength, the NHC said.

Another area of low pressure over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by Saturday.

President Enrique Pena Nieto pledged to repair the damage quickly and was due to conduct a flyover of affected areas on the Gulf coast of Mexico on Wednesday.

Dozens of homes in Tampico, one of the main Gulf ports north of Veracruz, were waterlogged when the Panuco River burst its banks, forcing evacuations. Alligators swam into the streets of the town.

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Source:
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