- Title: MEXICO: Residents begin cleanup process as floodwaters continue to recede
- Date: 11th November 2007
- Summary: TATTERED MEXICAN FLAG
- Embargoed: 26th November 2007 12:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Environment / Natural World
- Reuters ID: LVAB3P92JMHLAS62WP836PPET0P3
- Story Text: Residents continue their struggle to recover from the aftermath of devastating flooding in southeastern Mexico. But even as the floodwaters slowly recede, locals are left with little other than sopping, dirty belongings and the fear of disease.
Residents in the Tabasco state capital city of Villahermosa continued struggling on Saturday (November 10) to get life back to normal after last week's heavy rains caused some of Mexico's most serious flooding in decades, killing three people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.
Thousands of people are still in shelters, but many attempted to return to their homes to salvage what they could.
Many residents made their way through the still flooded streets by boat, while others waded through waist-high water. Even livestock still swam through the water.
Epilio Garcia returned to his house to see what he could do with it, but he sounded resigned as he said there was little he could save.
"Everything disappeared. This (gesturing to the house) remained.
But everything disappeared. That part (of the house) broke and I had to put a rope above. But that's how it is. The water has a lot of pressure here," he said.
Another resident, Carlos Varelas had a similar experience.
"The rising of the river - then the part from the back came. It rose from behind and went forward and it rose one metre and 50 centimetres. I lost a lot of things. I can't recover anything. Everything was lost. There are still things, but a lot of things don't work and have to be thrown away.
There is nothing else to do," he said.
Meanwhile, the water has many worried about the onset of disease.
Colds, respiratory illnesses and foot fungus have become common, and doctors in the tropical city fear outbreaks of more serious diseases like cholera due to a lack of running water.
Standing water attracts mosquitoes, which can carry infectious diseases such as dengue. Cholera is transmitted by contaminated water.
Army and government doctors have given thousands of injections in recent days against hepatitis and tetanus. Residents, many wearing only flip-flops on their feet, cut themselves on submerged objects as they waded through muddy waters.
About 80,000 people from the flooded city of Villahermosa have taken refuge in crammed schools, churches and a multistory parking garage.
Peru, Cuba, Spain, Honduras, Panama, Japan, Israel, Argentina and Venezuela, El Salvador among others have all sent aid to Tabasco, as well as international organizations.
The floods are expected to cost insurers some $700 million.
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