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Mexico struggles after being hit by storms on both coasts

Sept. 21, 2013 at 1:57 AM   |   Comments

MEXICO CITY, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Corruption and mismanagement increased the toll from two major storms that hit Mexico's Pacific and Gulf coasts, critics say.

At least 101 deaths were confirmed Friday from Tropical Storm Manuel, which struck the Pacific resort of Acapulco, and Hurricane Ingrid, The New York Times reported. Officials said they expected the toll to rise.

Mudslides hit the Acapulco area hard after years of unrestrained logging and building, Luis de la Calle, an economist, said. He said desperate peasants practice slash and burn agriculture, further denuding hillsides.

"If we had the right development plan, the country wouldn't fall into chaos," Angel Macias Garza, the vice president for infrastructure at the Mexican Construction Industry Chamber, told the Times.

One of the hardest hit villages, La Pintada, a few miles north of Acapulco, was partly buried in mud Monday. The search continued Friday for 68 missing residents or their bodies.

Rescue workers also searched for a Black Hawk helicopter, one of three given to Mexico by the United States for drug interdiction work. The helicopter disappeared Thursday while being used for search and rescue.

The highway between Acapulco and Mexico City reopened Friday, the Journal said. Long lines formed as thousands of tourists who had been trapped for days in the resort tried to leave.

At the other end, trucks began ferrying supplies to Acapulco.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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