Mexico – 17 Hospital Patients Die After Floods in Hidalgo

Further flooding in central Mexico has caused the tragic deaths of at least 17 patients of a hospital in Hidalgo State.

Evacuations after floods in Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico, 07 September 2021. Photo: Coordinación Nacional de Protección Civil del Gobierno de México

Heavy rainfall on 07 September 2021 caused the Tula and Rosas rivers to break their banks in the municipality of Tula de Allende (known as Tula) in Hidalgo State, situated about 70 km / 45 miles north of Mexico City.

Flood waters swept through streets and into buildings, including the hospital of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS). Flooding also knocked out power in the area including the hospital which was caring for several COVID-19 patients.

Zoé Robledo, General Director of IMSS, later confirmed that 17 patients had died, possibly due to the loss of oxygen equipment after the power outages. Around 41 patients were evacuated to other medical facilities. The Comisión Federal de Electricidad installed an emergency power generator to restore the supply in the hospital. Teams from Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) were coordintaing the shipment of oxygen tanks for hospital patients.

President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said in a statement, “I am very saddened by the death of 17 patients at the IMSS hospital due to the overflow of the Tula River in Hidalgo. A lot of water has fallen throughout the Valley of Mexico and it will continue to rain. Those who live in low-lying areas, for now, move to shelters or higher parts with family or friends.”

Flooding affected other parts of the municipality, where dozens of buildings and vehicles have been damaged. Rescue teams of Civil Protection, firefighters and military used boats to rescue people stranded in the flood waters. Helicopters were also used to rescue those who had taken refuge on roofs of buildings. The Governor of Hidalgo, Omar Fayad, reported around 1,000 people had been rescued or had evacuated their homes in at least 10 locations across the municipality.

According to Manuel Hernández Badillo, the mayor of Tula, authorities opened the flood gates of the Requena and Endhó dams which had both exceeded their capacity. Rumours had circulated that the dams were about to fail. The state’s Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA) said the dams do not represent a risk to the population and are operating correctly.

An earthquake was also reported in the area at this time. As of 08 September, the municipal government said no damage had been reported.

Several flood events have affected parts of central Mexico in the last few days. Intense rainfall caused rivers and streams to overflow in several municipalities of the state of Morelos on 02 September 2021. Two people died after heavy rain on 06 September caused flash floods in Ecatepec.

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