Federal authorities yesterday declared emergency situations in two Coahuila municipalities as heavy rain that fell on September 7 continues to cause flooding, affecting around 100,000 residents of the northern border state.
The declaration, issued by national Civil Protection services at the request of the state government, applies to Acuña and Torreón and makes Natural Disaster Fund (Fonden) resources available.
Flooding has also affected other parts of Coahuila including Piedras Negras and the state capital Saltillo.
The National Meteorological Service (SMN) reported that 222 milliliters of rain have fallen in Torreón over the past three days, causing flooding in about 50 neighborhoods. Hundreds of families have been evacuated to shelters set up in the city.
Broadcaster Televisa reported that one person died after being electrocuted upon touching a utility pole in an industrial area of Torreón.
Governor Miguel Riquelme Solís said 10 pumps supplied by municipal, state and federal authorities are being used to drain water from affected areas and that a temporary employment program would be established to facilitate clean-up efforts.
More than 1 billion pesos (US $52 million) will be needed to repair and rebuild storm drain infrastructure, he added.
All told, around 70,000 people in Torreón have been affected by the rains and many schools closed yesterday. Some will remain shut today.
In Ciudad Acuña, a border city opposite Del Rio, Texas, around 20,000 people have been affected by flooding, while there are a further 7,500 victims in Piedras Negras, around 90 kilometers to the southeast.
In Saltillo, flood damage has been less severe although a dam burst its banks on the Presa de los Muchachos ejido (community land), affecting several homes and causing the death of livestock.
Mayor Manolo Jiménez Salinas said the municipality would use its own funds to provide aid to the victims.
Some roads in Saltillo have also been flooded by the heavy rains, which municipal public services director Alejandro Hassaf said in many cases is caused by overflowing drains blocked by rubbish. He urged residents not to dispose of trash in the streets.
The SMN is predicting more heavy rains for Coahuila today including in the Comarca Lagunera region where Torreón is located.