Residents of Múzquiz, Coahuila, awoke to severe flooding Thursday after a storm dumped about 30 centimeters of rain on the municipality.
Thousands of residents in Melchor Múzquiz, the municipal seat, and nearby communities have been affected by the flooding, with some families trapped in their homes due to the abundance of water. Rain continued to fall on Thursday, aggravating the situation.
In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, Múzquiz Mayor Tania Flores declared a state of emergency in the municipality.
In another post in the early afternoon she thanked all the rescuers who risked their lives to save those of others. Accompanying video footage showed a rescue worker carrying a young boy through waist-high water. Behind him, another man assisted an elderly lady.
Government helicopters were also deployed to aid rescue efforts as streets in Múzquiz appeared more like fast-flowing rivers. The newspaper Milenio reported the death of cattle and pets, but no human fatalities had been reported in the municipality by late Thursday afternoon.
“Today we lived through a time of crisis and sadness … [in which] 70% of the population lost everything they had,” Flores wrote in another Facebook post.
“I never thought … we would have such a large natural disaster. … There are thousands of victims in Múzquiz. … I ask everyone in different municipalities for your help. Mayors, deputies, business people and citizens in general, today we need your help,” the mayor said.
She also posted heartfelt video messages to her Facebook page, sobbing as she shared footage of some of the affected areas.
“Move away from flooded areas because [the situation] is critical,” she said in one video. “My heart breaks to see what is happening in Múzquiz.”
Shelters were set up to receive people rescued by authorities and private citizens, who made use of boats, canoes and other watercraft to navigate the flooded streets. Soldiers, members of the National Guard and Civil Protection personnel were among the official rescuers who worked throughout the day.
The newspaper El Universal reported that flooding was higher than one meter in low-lying parts of Múzquiz, part of a coal mining region in Coahuila. The excessive water flowed into homes, stranded vehicles and caused local waterways, including the Sabinas River, to overflow. The flooding closed schools and many businesses in Melchor Múzquiz, located about 140 kilometers north of Monclova and a similar distance southwest of the northern border city of Piedras Negras.
The region has experienced heavy rain in recent days and one person was swept away by floodwaters and drowned in the municipality of Acuña on Tuesday, Milenio said. Also in the region, 10 presumably deceased coal miners remain underground in the municipality of Sabinas almost a month after the mine in which they were working flooded when a wall collapsed during excavation work.
Flooding has also recently affected other parts of northern Mexico, including parts of Sinaloa, where authorities warned that people driving quad bikes or other vehicles recklessly in water-clogged streets will be detained.