November 5, 2007
Heavy rains have created the biggest flood in Mexico in many decades, and the dislocation of humanity is comparable in scale to that caused by Hurricane Katrina two years ago. The reported death toll is light so far, fewer than ten, but about 300,000 people remain trapped in their homes awaiting rescue. The city of Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco is almost entirely submerged, creating a huge health hazard. Mass hunger and thirst are creating severe social tensions, putting the government of president Felipe Gonzalez under heavy pressure. Villahermosa is one of the main centers of Mexico's petroleum industry, and the flood has crippled Mexico's oil output. See BBC
I spent a couple days in Villahermosa during my first trip to Mexico in 1985, with my friend Joe Cash. It was a staging area for a day trip we took to the Mayan ruins at Palenque, in the state of Chiapas near the border with Guatemala.