Gamma leaves six dead in southern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) – At least six people died and thousands were evacuated in southeastern Mexico after Tropical Storm Gamma lashed the Yucatan Peninsula’s resort-studded coast with near-hurricane force winds and drenched Tabasco and Chiapas states, authorities said on Sunday.

Mexico’s civil defence agency said in a statement that four of the deaths, including two children, were in Chiapas, where a landslide on a mountainous slope buried their home. The other two deaths were in Tabasco state, where one person was dragged away by the water and another drowned.. Gamma, along with cold fronts, combined over the weekend to cause extreme rains in parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas, affecting more than half a million people. The hardest-hit state was Tabasco, where more than 3,400 were evacuated to shelters.

The storm came ashore on Saturday near Tulum with maximum sustained winds of nearly 70 mph, according to the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

Mexican authorities continued to warn people in the Yucatan on Sunday night as Gamma remained stalled offshore. The hurricane centre said Gamma was about 190 miles east-northeast of Progreso, Mexico, and had maximum sustained winds of 60mph.

The state’s Tourism Department reported Friday on Twitter that more than 41,000 tourists were present in Quintana Roo, with hotels in Cancun and Cozumel already at more than 30 per cent occupancy. The area only recently re-opened to tourism after a pandemic shutdown.

Fishermen try to protect their boats from heavy rains due to the passage of Storm Gamma in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. PHOTO: AFP