Tens of thousands of Mexicans were yesterday wading through brackish floodwaters, sometimes chest-deep, in Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco state, in search of food, water and shelter, as yet more rain was forecast.
A huge rescue operation was under way to bring relief to a state said to be 80% under water after the worst flooding in 50 years.
Over 800,000 people have been made homeless, and businesses and farmland are ruined.
"The scene here is terrible, it's biblical," said Javier Velazco, assistant director of the Red Cross in Tabasco. "We're attending to thousands of people. We're delivering food, rope and water, but it's not enough. We need everybody's help."
As local officials warned of the danger of pillaging and violence, President Felipe Calderon warned that the army and navy would crack down on any outbreaks of looting. Only one person was reported to have died by yesterday morning, but more casualties were expected as disease spreads. Doctors were conducting tests for cholera.
Helicopters, boats and even jet-skis were being used to move victims stranded on rooftops and small patches of dry land to safety.
Calderon said there was "no doubt" that climate change had caused the floods. But graft has undoubtedly played a part. Millions of dollars have been poured into a water management scheme for Tabasco, but Calderon and other officials admitted that nothing had been done - pointing to corruption as one of the roots of the disaster. ( Times )