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A rescue worker pulls a man out of floodwaters in Jalisco. A rescue worker pulls a man out of floodwaters in Jalisco.

Storm damage extensive in Yelapa, Jalisco; 300 families affected

'The river burst its banks, taking with it houses and everything in its path'

It only took eight minutes of rain from Tropical Storm Narda to turn the coastal paradise of Yelapa, Jalisco, into a flooded nightmare and leave extensive damage in its wake.

Losses have been estimated at 20 million pesos (US $1 million) in Cabo Corrientes, the municipality in which Yelapa is located, where 300 households have been affected and at least 30 have lost everything.

Located just south of Puerto Vallarta, the town has about 1,500 Mexican and foreign residents, of whom about 80% remained to wait out the storm. Locals said that they have never seen flooding like that which surged through town on Sunday.

Espiridión Joya Ramos has lived for decades in Yelapa, where he and his grandson ran a small restaurant on the shore of the river next to a waterfall. The flood swept everything away.

“The water arrived just before it got dark, around 7:30 or 8:00pm. I’ve lived here 49 years, and from what I can remember, there has never been flooding like this. The river burst its banks, taking with it houses and everything in its path,” Joya said.

Cleaning up in Yelapa after Tropical Storm Narda.
Cleaning up in Yelapa after Tropical Storm Narda.

Another victim, Rufino Córdova, barely escaped the rushing waters.

“The river got really full and it was taking all the rocks with it . . . here where I live, I would have drowned, but I’ve got a couple of large rocks there that protected me,” he said.

On Tuesday morning, families were trying to recover their belongings.

“It happened in the blink of an eye,” said María Magdalena Lorenzo, who fled to the second floor of her house when the ground floor flooded. “In less than five minutes we were already flooded. We didn’t have time to grab anything.”

Personnel from the navy, National Guard and Civil Protection agency surveyed the damage on Monday morning, but left immediately thereafter.

“The navy came, but they only checked for injured and dead,” said Román Lorenzo, one of hundreds of residents who were cleaning up. “We haven’t received any help on the part of the government to clean up.”

Since the day of the storm, Yelapa residents have been without electricity, drinking water, telephone and other services. Those who have generators have been able to use them to charge their phones to call Puerto Vallarta, from which supplies are being sent.

So far three tonnes of food, water and other supplies have arrived, but the town is still in need of more.

Narda left a trail of damage during a seven-day sweep through Mexico last week.

Source: Quadratin (sp)

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