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A flooded street in Villahermosa. A flooded street in Villahermosa.

Hundreds of families lose their possessions in Tabasco floods

Matters could get worse as water is released from a dam in Chiapas

Hundreds of families have seen their belongings washed away due to torrential rains in Villahermosa, Tabasco.

Some neighborhoods of the capital city saw standing water up to one meter deep after four hours of heavy rain fell Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.

“We haven’t slept, all night [we] were trying to get our belongings out, but we couldn’t. The water beat us, and we lost everything,” lamented one resident. Her home is in the Tamulté de las Barrancas neighborhood, one of the most affected areas, where more than 221 millimeters of rain was recorded. 

To make matters worse, the rainfall has filled the reservoir at the Peñitas dam in neighboring Chiapas and the National Water Commission (Conagua) has announced that it will open the floodgates. That will send more water to the Grijalva River and its tributaries, the Mezcalapa Samaria and Carrizal rivers, which flow through Tabasco.

Governor Adán López Hernández says water released from the dam will more than double, increasing from 600 to 1,350 cubic meters per second, and urged the Federal Electricity Commission, which is in charge of the dam, to “guarantee the safety of the person and property of the people of Tabasco. If they do not do so, they will be responsible for the material damages.” 

Civil Protection warned that the municipalities of Nacajuca, Jalpa de Méndez and Cunduacán would begin to notice rising water levels beginning at noon Friday and asked residents to be vigilant. People who have livestock were asked to move their animals to the highlands.

Temporary shelters will be opened in Villahermosa, and two are already open in Teapa due to the flooding of the Pichucalco River.

The governor warned that rainfall is predicted to continue into the weekend. The Sierra and Chontalpa regions could be particularly affected, he said.

The amount of rain has some residents remembering the flooding that occurred in late October and early November 2007, when 80% of the state was under water and 20,000 people had to be evacuated. 

Source: El Universal (sp)

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