Hurricane Grace kills 8, including children in Mexico
Hurricane Grace killed at least eight people, including five children from the same family, as it passed through eastern Mexico on Saturday, causing flooding, mudslides and damage to homes and businesses.
The storm made landfall in Mexico for the second time near Tecolutla, Veracruz state, as a Category Three major storm with winds of 200 kilometers per hour.
It later died out when it moved inland to the central highlands, but not before causing extensive damage.
In the state capital of Veracruz, Xalapa, the streets have been transformed into brown and muddy rivers.
Seven people died there and one more in the city of Poza Rica, Veracruz Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia told a press conference.
The victims included a mother and five of her children who were buried when a hill collapsed on their small house.
“I heard a knock on the roof and I went out to see,” said their father Adan Moreno, witness to the tragedy.
“I heard the earth crumble. The hill was washed away and they were all there, my wife and my six children, ”he told AFP, his voice broken.
He dug in the mud with the help of family members, but only one child was taken alive.
His wife and five other children, including a two-week-old baby girl, did not survive.
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The streets of Tecolutla, home to around 24,000 people, were littered with fallen trees, signs and roof panels.
Esteban Dominguez’s beach restaurant has been reduced to rubble.
“It was a multi-year effort,” he said.
“There was my house there, but it is destroyed. I find myself without a roof or furniture, ”he said.
Many houses in the region found themselves without electricity.
Grace wore off as it circled inland, flooding Mexico City, but could turn into another cyclone next week in the Pacific, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Mexican authorities have remained on high alert due to the threat of river overflows and landslides, mainly in Veracruz.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
Nearly 8,000 members of the civil defense, soldiers and employees of the electricity board have been put on hold to deal with the consequences of the storm, he said Friday evening.
Authorities in Veracruz state said they had prepared 200 storm shelters and urged residents to hide in safe places.
They closed most of the highways in Veracruz, which are crossed by many rivers.
In anticipation of the storm, workers along the coast barricaded windows to protect shops, fishermen brought their boats ashore, and residents secured their homes after stocking up on canned food and water. .
“We will spend many days without fishing, almost a week,” said Isabel Pastrana Vazquez, director of the Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives in Veracruz.
“About 35,000 fishermen will be affected because we cannot get out,” he said.
In Casitas, a small tourist town on the coast, fisherman Domingo Hernandez said the roof of his house had been ripped off.
“The whole sheet has been blown away. I was there to hold it, ”he said, expressing his relief that his boat was not damaged too.
The hurricane had already hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula earlier in the week, forcing thousands of tourists to hide in shelters, but without killing.