MEXICO CITY – Rescue teams were searching Thursday for at least 58 people believed buried in a mudslide after multiple storms battered large swaths of the country, killing nearly 100 people nationwide and leaving thousands stranded or homeless.
While much attention was focused on tourists caught in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, even grimmer reports emerged from that hard-hit region, where villages were largely cut off from aid and may have suffered large-scale devastation.
Luis Felipe Puente, national Civil Protection coordinator, said in a television interview that the death toll climbed Thursday to 97 people in nine states. He said authorities were searching an area of Guerrero state called La Pintada, in the county of Atoyac de Alvarez, where at least 58 people were reported missing after a mudslide. Rescue operations have already evacuated more than 300 people.
“We hope all (58) are not” dead, Puente said.
“We haven’t seen bodies,” Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said after flying over the region. “But there were two-story houses that are now completely covered. There was a tall church, and now you don’t see a church. It disappeared.”
Tropical storm Manuel hit Guerrero and other parts of Mexico’s west coast several days ago-just as Hurricane Ingrid was pummeling the eastern coast-weakened, then grew to hurricane strength, then weakened again Thursday, meteorological officials said. At its strongest, it aimed Thursday for Sinaloa state.