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Mexico Revises Casualties From Tuesday's Massive Landslide

Men look inside a home that was buried after a landslide in the town of Santa Maria de Tlahuitoltepec, Mexico, 28 Sep 2010
Men look inside a home that was buried after a landslide in the town of Santa Maria de Tlahuitoltepec, Mexico, 28 Sep 2010
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Cindy Lavanderos

Mexico has revised its earlier casualty toll from a massive landslide early Tuesday morning in a mountain village in the state of Oaxaca to 11 disappeared and no confirmed dead. Initial reports suggested that as many as 1,000 people in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec may have been buried in the mudslide.

Rescue efforts in the remote indigenous village continued on Wednesday, as scores of residents were evacuated from the rain-drenched area. Fears of more mudslides persist because of the continuing rains.

Manuel Maza Sanchez, the director of the Oaxaca Fire Department, said that a lack of coordination and bad weather have made rescue efforts "futile", due to the high risk involved.

He added that they knew 11 people were buried and approximately 7 or 8 houses were destroyed by the mudslide, but no bodies had been found yet due to the large amount of mud.

Local officials in this town of 9,000 first said that the landslide had buried 300 houses while residents were asleep. They feared up to 1,000 people might have died.

The government responded by sending 600 rescue workers, including the army, state and federal police, firefighters, civil defense and Red Cross workers, to the town. By late Tuesday afternoon, they reported that the extent of the damage and casualty figures were much less than initially reported.

Many of Mexico's southern states are currently at risk after weeks of intense rain from a series of tropical storms and hurricanes have soaked the area. On Wednesday, the state governments in Oaxaca, Veracruz and Tabasco were on alert as flooding from overflowing rivers inundated towns and riverside communities throughout the region.

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