13 dead as killer tornado strikes northern Mexico town
A strong tornado has ripped through the Mexican town of Ciudad Acuna near the US border, killing at least 13 people, including three children, and devastating hundreds of homes.
The killer twister, which struck at dawn on Monday in Coahuila state just across the border from Del Rio, Texas, tossed vehicles and heavy trucks into the air and smashed them into houses and buildings.
Images from the aftermath of the storm showed a number of crumpled automobiles resting against walls and roofs as shocked residents of the town of 136,000 people examined the massive ruins caused by the tornado.
The deadly twister occurred as severe storms battered swathes of the Central American nation as well as the southern United States, where rescuers were searching for 12 missing individuals following flash floods across the states of Texas and Oklahoma that left three people dead.
According to Mexico’s National Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente, “more than 1,000 homes” have been affected by the tornado.
Speaking to local media, Puente further stated that the twister swept in at the “impressive speed” of 270-300 kilometers per hour and lasted only six seconds.
Coahuila state Governor Victor Zamora announced that nearly 230 people were also wounded after being struck or cut by the debris flying by the wind. Almost 90 of the wounded were still being treated by the afternoon.
“We have hundreds of houses that are practically destroyed,” said Ciudad Acuna’s Mayor Evaristo Lenin Perez, further appealing for water, canned food and clothing for the victims.
He added that most of the fatalities were individuals that were out on the street at the time the twister struck.
Meanwhile, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto offered federal aid for the affected areas and said such tornadoes are “unusual” in the country.
Moreover, authorities said they have opened eight temporary shelters for those left homeless by the storm.