Policeman’s body found in Mexico, quake toll 65
JUCHITAN, Mexico — The Latest on Hurricane Katia and a major earthquake in Mexico (all times local):
Emergency crews in Mexico have recovered the body of a police officer buried in rubble, raising to 65 the death toll from this week’s 8.1-magnitude earthquake.
The man’s body was found in a collapsed passageway between city hall offices and a market in the southern city of Juchitan, the city hit hardest by Thursday night’s quake.
Federal officials have also confirmed the new death toll of 65. That includes 37 in Juchitan.
Saturday’s discovery came as Mexicans mourned quake victims in slow-moving funeral processions in Juchitan, where a graveyard swelled with the bereaved and serenades for the dead.
The country was also hit by a hurricane that made landfall along the Gulf coast late Friday. Authorities say two people were killed by a landslide in Veracruz state. The storm has since dissipated.
The death toll in Mexico’s earthquake has risen to 64 with three more deaths reported in the southern border state of Chiapas.
The state government now says 15 people died there due to Thursday night’s magnitude 8.1 quake, in addition to 45 reported dead in Oaxaca and four in Tabasco.
The state government says more than 1,000 homes were destroyed in Chiapas, and about 5,000 were damaged.
The governor of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz is reporting two deaths related to the arrival of Hurricane Katia, which hit the state overnight.
Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes says the two died in a mudslide. The mountainous region where the storm has been dumping rain has a history of deadly floods and slides.
Yunes said Saturday that there were no other reports of major damage, though he said some rivers had risen to near flood stage.
The light damage so far is good news to national disaster officials who are already coping with the aftermath of a magnitude 8.1 quake that killed more than 60 people in southern Mexico.
Yunes said 2,886 had been evacuated from their homes across the state.
The interior department in neighboring Puebla state evacuated 1,500 people to storm shelters as a preventative measures, but reported no serious damage or deaths.
Hurricane Katia has deteriorated into a soggy tropical depression that is dumping rain over the mountains of east-central Mexico.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm is now centered about 145 miles (235 kilometers) south of the Gulf coast city of Tampico in a mountainous region dotted with small towns. Katia made landfall Friday night as a hurricane.
The hurricane center says the storm is expected to bring 10 to 15 inches (25 to 37 centimeters of rain to the area, which has a history of deadly mudslides and flooding.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says that Tropical Storm Katia is starting to stall over Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.
Katia made landfall north of Tecolutla, Mexico late Friday as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph (120 kph). It then was downgraded to a tropical storm and forecasters expect it to dissipate Saturday.
The hurricane center said that Katia’s maximum sustained winds are now down to near 40 mph (65 kph) and that it is expected to drift east of the Sierra Madre mountains as it peters out.
The National Hurricane Center says Katia has weakened into a tropical storm as it moves further into Mexico, with wind speeds of up to 45 mph (72.4 kph).
Katia made landfall north of Tecolutla, Mexico late Friday as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph (120 kph). Forecasters expect the hurricane to weaken quickly over the next 24 hours.
Elsewhere, a Category 5 Hurricane Irma left a string of deaths and damage across the Caribbean, battering Cuba late Friday with winds of 160 mph (257 kph) and bearing down on south Florida. To the east, Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm, was following behind, threatening further damage in Irma’s wake.
One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico and a raging hurricane dealt a devastating one-two punch to the country, killing at least 61 people as workers scrambled to respond to the twin national emergencies.
The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where 36 people died and a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were otherwise rendered uninhabitable, President Enrique Pena Nieto said late Friday in an interview with the Televisa news network.
In downtown Juchitan, the remains of brick walls and clay tile roofs cluttered streets as families dragged mattresses onto sidewalks to spend a second anxious night sleeping outdoors. Some were newly homeless, while others feared further aftershocks could topple their cracked adobe dwellings.
Across the country, Hurricane Katia was roaring onshore north of Tecolutla in Veracruz state, pelting the region with intense rains and winds.