Hurricane Agatha leaves 11 dead and 20 missing after burying people in mudslides

Soldiers stand near an area damaged by the storm, which has also caused power outages (Image: Reuters)

A record-breaking hurricane has killed at least 11 people in southern Mexico after causing flooding and mudslides.

Around 20 people are still missing after Agatha in May became the strongest recorded storm to ever make landfall.

The governor of the southern state of Oaxaca said yesterday rivers were bursting their banks, taking people away from their homes – while other victims were buried under mud and rocks.

“There were two main reasons” for the deaths, Governor Alejando Murat told local media.

“There were rivers that burst their banks and on the other hand, and the worst, there were landslides.”

Mr Murat suggested that most of the deaths in small inland mountain towns had happened off the coast.

But he added that there were also reports of three children missing near the beach town of Huatulco.


Tree branches lie on the ground near a house hit by the storm (Image: Reuters)


The storm made landfall on Monday (Image: Shutterstock)


A downed power line in San Isidro del Palmar, Oaxaca (Image: Reuters)

Mr Murat added that power had been restored to some communities near the coast but that bridges had been washed away and mudslides blocked a number of motorways.

San Isidro del Palmar, just a few miles inland from the coast, was flooded by the Tonameca River, which flows through the city.

Agatha — the first hurricane of the eastern Pacific hurricane season — made landfall Monday afternoon, hitting a sparsely populated stretch of beach towns and fishing villages in Oaxaca.

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It quickly lost strength as it moved inland over the mountains but was a strong Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

The remnants of the storm were moving northeast into the state of Veracruz yesterday, having only formed on Sunday.

Jeff Masters, weather forecaster at Yale Climate Connections and founder of Weather Underground, confirmed it was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the eastern Pacific in May.

It’s unclear whether changing climate played a role in the storm’s record-breaking.

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Justin Scacco

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