VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico – A week of torrential rain has flooded the homes of more than 200,000 people along Mexico's Gulf coast, officials said Friday. Residents in some towns complained that no help had arrived.
The flooding in eastern Tabasco state has worsened as rains persist and more rivers overflow their banks. Three people drowned earlier in the week while trying to flee a torrent of water in a drainage canal.
People "are in a desperate situation," Tabasco Gov. Andres Granier said, but he added that many were ignoring pleas to move to shelters for fear their homes would be looted.
The floods affect more than a dozen towns.
Santos Perez Jimenez said no help had arrived in his rural community of Luis Cabrera.
"We're trying to get our things out as best we can," Perez Jimenez said. "We've radioed for help several times but they have not paid attention to us."
An estimated 20,000 people were in 100 shelters set up by the state. Others, however, set up makeshift tents on dry land near their soaked homes, fearing looting.
"This is the closest we can be to our stuff. And we are used to these floods," said Rebecca Rodriguez, who was living under a plastic sheet along a stretch of highway between Tabasco and Veracruz state.
Floods occur yearly in Tabasco despite government efforts to improve infrastructure. In 2007, floods left 1 million homes under water and killed 33 people.