Tropical Storm Earl: Landslides kill six in Mexico

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man wrapped in plastic sheeting to protect himself from rain, near destroyed house on muddy hillside, 7 August 2016Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Houses in Veracruz state were buried in landslides caused by heavy rains from Storm Earl

Six people died in eastern Mexico when their homes were buried under landslides caused by heavy rain in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Earl.

The dead included a married couple and their one-year-old son, officials said.

It happened on Saturday in Veracruz state, and there are warnings that rivers may flood in the neighbouring state of Puebla.

They were not Storm Earl's first victims. At least nine people died on Monday as it gathered in the Caribbean.

Six of the victims were passengers on board a bus that caught fire in the Dominican town of Nagua when it was hit by tumbling power lines.

Three people drowned in Haiti when their tour boat capsized.

Earl moved westward and struck Belize as a Category One hurricane on Thursday.

The hurricane then weakened to a tropical storm and passed over Guatemala and parts of Mexico.

It has now been downgraded from a storm to a tropical depression and wind speeds dropped to 30mph (48km/h) by Saturday, but the effects of the large amounts of rainfall it unleashed are continuing.

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
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Soldiers have been drafted in to help dig houses out in parts of Mexico

Some villages in Mexico have been cut off as bridges have been torn up by swollen rivers.

The town of Coscomatepec, where the young family died, has been hit by a similar tragedy before. In 2013 a landslide took the lives of 13 people, including eight children and six members of one family.

Local media (in Spanish) reported that some families had predicted that there might be another landslide and asked the government for help relocating away from the base of hills and building defence walls.

The official response was reportedly that there was no money to re-house them.

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
Several houses were destroyed in the landslides