Oaxaca, Mexico, Mudslide Buries Town, Leaves Hundreds of People Missing

Article excerpt

Oaxaca, Mexico, was inundated with heavy rain Monday night, causing a hill to collapse and swallow the rural town of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec.

Oaxaca, Mexico, experienced a severe landslide Tuesday morning that swallowed an entire town and may have left hundreds of people dead or injured.

The extent of the damage is unknown, as the rural town of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec remains cut off from the rest of Mexico's southern state of Oaxaca. Attempts to contact churches, community centers, schools, and the mayor's office in the town failed because all lines are down.

The mudslide, which could have buried up to 300 homes while residents were fast asleep, is believed to have taken place at about 4 a.m. local time. It occurred when a hillside battered with heavy rains all night long collapsed.

Mexico's Interior Ministry released a statement Tuesday morning saying it was sending police and military to help in the rescue effort, which has been stymied by roads cut off from other landslides. Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec is a four-hour drive from the state capital of Oaxaca City.

"We still haven't reached the town," the governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz, said on local television Tuesday. …