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Jalisco suffers as Manuel batters western Mexico

September 17, 2013

At least four people were killed in Jalisco on Sunday, after tropical storm Manuel made landfall near the port of Manzanillo, Colima and proceeded to wreak havoc across western Mexico.

Hundreds of schools were closed, many major roads and highways were blocked and several bridges collapsed, with the southern and coastal areas of the state bearing the brunt of the storm.

The Jalisco Civil Protection agency confirmed that a 26-year-old man died after being swept away by flash floods in the village of Juanacatlan, Tapalpa, while a 12-year-old boy drowned after falling in the Santa Rosa dam in the municipality of Teocuitatlan de Corona.

Another man was reported dead after driving his car into a ravine in Cuautitlan de Garcia Barragan on Sunday, and yet another was reported missing after being swept away as he tried to cross the street in the town of Quitupan. The 42-year-old male, identified only as Mario, was found dead about four miles downstream in the Rio Quitupan on Wednesday.

Governor Aristoteles Sandoval revealed on Wednesday that 1,500 people had been evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure, and the Jalisco government was still considering declaring a state of disaster in 37 of the state’s 125 municipalities as the Reporter went to press.

“Whenever there is a disaster we will be present, to be in solidarity with our people in every municipality in the state,” Sandoval said after taking part in an aerial inspection of some of the most damaged areas in southern Jalisco on Wednesday.

The municipalities of Tapalpa and Ciudad Guzman suffered the heaviest rainfall in Jalisco, each recording 128 millimeters of rainwater per cubic meter in the first 24 hours of the storm. The coastal municipality of Cihuatlan recorded 68 millimetres in the same period, while another 108.5 millimeters fell in Cajon de Peña, Tomatlan in a 24-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Chapala was perhaps the only place where such heavy rainfall was welcome. The water level of the depleted lake rose by ten centimeters from last Friday to Thursday, reaching a volume of 3.29 billion cubic meters, 41.67 percent of its capacity, the National Water Commission (Conagua) reported.

Classes were cancelled in 588 schools across eight Jalisco municipalities on Tuesday, State Education Secretary Francisco Ayon said, with over 40,000 students missing classes because of flooding, damage to school buildings and blocked or dangerous roads.

Manzanillo’s international airport was also closed on Tuesday because the access road was blocked, while bridges collapsed in the Jalisco towns of Zacoalco de Torres and Tamazula de Gordiano.

The worst-hit areas in the Guadalajara metropolitan area were Tlajomulco, Tlaquepaque and Zapopan, which suffered flooding, landslides, road damage and increased traffic accidents, while a cargo train on the Irapuato-Manzanillo railway line was forced to halt in Guadalajara as a landslide in Sayula left the tracks blocked.

More heavy rain was forecast in western Jalisco and Nayarit over the coming days after Manuel moved up the Pacific Coast and made landfall in Sinaloa early Thursday morning.

The Zapopan municipal government and the local branch of the Family Development Agency (DIF) are collecting supplies to support families affected by the storms. Donations of clean clothing (old or new) for children and adults; and non-perishable foods – such as bottled water, powdered milk, pasta, rice, tuna, sardines and canned vegetables – are welcome at the DIF Zapopan headquarters at Avenida Laureles 1151 and the municipal palace at Avenida Hidalgo 151, Zapopan Centro.

The Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce (Avenida Vallarta 4095) is also accepting donations of non-perishable food supplies, toilet roll, sanitary towels, soap, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste – but not clothing or bottled water – from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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