Heavy rains caught residents unawares yesterday in the Tabasco capital of Villahermosa, where about eight days’ worth of the average monthly rainfall fell in just 24 hours.
The deluge came as a surprise to the residents of 18 neighborhoods because there had been no official warning issued.
The 210 millimeters of rain registered during the early hours affected 17 schools and three state hospitals, triggering the Army’s disaster relief program, Plan DN-III.
Civil Protection officials estimated some 3,000 people were affected in the municipalities of Centro and Nacajuca.
Despite the military presence, help was reportedly slow to arrive, which prompted some residents to protest by erecting several roadblocks.
In the aftermath of the flash floods Governor Arturo Núñez Jiménez issued an emergency declaration and ordered the installation of additional pumping equipment at critical points in the city.
He also instructed the state contingency fund Focotab to have all available humanitarian aid — including cleaning kits, blankets and sleeping mats — ready for families in need.
The state government opened a shelter but instead of using it citizens opted to remain in their flooded homes and continue their protests.
The emergency is the most severe since 2007 when the city and 62% of the state sustained flooding that affected 1.5 million people and caused financial losses of 31.8 billion pesos (US $2.9 billion).
The state government invested 8.6 billion pesos in several water infrastructure projects and the construction of three housing projects for the flood victims.
Authorities warned today that there could be more rain courtesy of Beatriz, the tropical storm that made landfall last night in Oaxaca whose remnant low was heading across Mexico today towards the Gulf of Mexico.
Source: El Universal (sp)