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At least 16 patients died as floodwaters inundated and cut power to a hospital in Tula de Allende, Mexico, on September 7, according to the Mexican government and the Institute of Social Security (IMSS), the public agency that operates the hospital.
Earlier, President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador said 17 people had died, but the government later revised that number downward, saying 16 people had died and an 84-year-old patient with COVID-19 was rescued alive.
The flooding in Hidalgo province was brought on by heavy rains that caused the Tula river to overflow, the government said. The more than 40 other patients were being evacuated from the hospital, it added. At least 10 communities in the area were affected and around 2,000 homes were damaged.
Governor of Hidalgo state Omar Fayad traveled to Tula and said 1,000 members of Mexico’s National Guard were being deployed to support rescue and recovery operations.
The governor posted footage on social media taken from a helicopter flight as he observed the scale of the flooding in the city. Further video from ground level, taken less than 500 feet from the hospital, shows a road completely submerged by floodwaters and emergency responders using boats to transport people and supplies.
Fayad said several shelters had been established in Tula and Tepeji del Río, an area about 10 miles south of Tula that also experienced damaging floods.
Earlier, staff at the hospital appealed for help on social media, posting videos that showed floodwaters inside the hospital and staff on a roof as water surrounded the building. Credit: Omar Fayad via Storyful