Up to 1,000 people might have perished after a rain-soaked mountainside gave way and buried hundreds of homes in southwestern Mexico, the local governor said Tuesday.
Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz told the Televisa television network that the 4 a.m. landslide wiped-out at least 300 homes in the town of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, population 9,000.
“There could be between 500, 600 people, maybe 1,000” dead, the governor told Televisa.
“We haven’t reached the location yet,” Ruiz said, adding that rescue teams were being dispatched to the area.
“There has been lots of rain, rivers have overflowed and we’re having a hard time reaching the area because there are landslides on the roads,” he added.
Heavy rain in the mountains of Oaxaca state loosened the soil around the town, about four hours’ drive from the capital of Oaxaca, a city famous for its colonial buildings and nearby archeological sites.
Heavy rains have fallen on Central America and parts of Mexico for days as two storm systems moved across the western Caribbean.
Parts of Mexico are enduring their worst rainy season on record, which has triggered heavy flooding and forced thousands of people from their homes in vulnerable parts of the country.
In Oaxaca state alone, rains and flooding in recent days have claimed 10 lives and impacted 250,000 people.