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Thousands Homeless After Flooding in Mexico

The Mexican government has sent police and military task forces to help flood victims, but resources and shelter space are scarce.

“Military trucks hauled bottled water, food and clothing to Mexico’s flooded Gulf coast Friday as rescue workers in helicopters and boats worked furiously to retrieve thousands of victims stranded on rooftops,” the Associated Press reported.

Some 300,000 still had not been rescued as of Thursday, Tabasco Gov. Andres Granier said, according to the AP.

With food and drinking water resources low, health officials in Mexico are warning against outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera.

The flooding has not only left thousands stranded but has also damaged Tabasco’s rich oil industry and taken the lives of workers.

“Bad weather from the cold front caused an oil platform to collide with another rig last week, killing at least 21 workers,” Reuters reported. “Stormy seas closed Mexico’s three main oil ports on Sunday, halting almost all exports and a fifth of production. Two of the ports were operating again on Wednesday.”

Also damaged were relics from the tribal Olmec people. Famous giant statues in Villahermosa were flooded up to their chins.

Rescue workers struggled Thursday and Friday to find a place to put refugees, turning parking garages and other dry structures to temporary use. Many hospitals and medical centers also were flooded.

“This is one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the country,” President Felipe Calderon said in a televised address Thursday night, as reported by the AP. “Nobody can stand around with his arms crossed. We can’t and won’t abandon our brothers and sisters in Tabasco.”