More misery for Mexico as Manuel returns

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More misery for Mexico as Manuel returns

More misery for Mexico as Manuel returns
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Tropical storm Manuel has hit Mexico once again – this time lashing the northwestern state of Sinaloa with heavy rains. Around 2,000 people were evacuated due to flooding.

The latest wave of weather chaos came after Manuel and another tropical storm, Ingrid, converged on Mexico last weekend.

Authorities announced that the devastating storms had claimed at least 97 lives.

Long-awaited aid has arrived in Acapulco as the army loaded rescue helicopters to take supplies to stranded people in isolated areas.

Further south, the village of La Pintada was hit by a huge mudslide that killed at least 15 people. Rescue workers searched for dozens of residents who remained unaccounted for.

More threatened

The rain has eased in some areas, but more may be coming. The US National Hurricane Center said an area of low pressure over the oil-producing southern Gulf of Mexico had a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours and could dump heavy rains on already flooded areas.

The risk of more downpours comes after tropical storms Ingrid and Manuel converged on Mexico from the Gulf and the Pacific over the weekend, triggering the flash floods.

Ingrid dissipated, but Manuel eventually became a hurricane before being downgraded again.

More than one million people have been affected across the country, and 50,000 have been evacuated from their homes.

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York to focus on the relief efforts.

“The rainfall in the last few days has been the most intense registered in history over an extended area in Mexico,” Nieto said.

Economic hit

The storm damage follows a sharp slowdown in the Mexican economy last month, which prompted the government to cut its growth forecast for this year to 1.8 percent.

The Finance Ministry said it has some 12 billion pesos (700 million euros) in emergency relief funds, but footing the bill is an unwelcome burden on public finances at a time when Mexico had already proposed running a budget deficit to boost the economy.

Gabriel Casillas, head of economic analysis at major Mexican bank Banorte, said the storms could shave between 0.1 and 0.3 percentage points off gross domestic product in the third quarter if economic activity is interrupted for 10 days in 16 badly affected states.

“We haven’t seen two such aggressive weather phenomena hitting at the same time in recent years,” he said. “We just don’t yet know how long economic activity will be knocked out.”