Thousands Evacuate Flooding in Southern Mexico

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico -- Authorities in Mexico's Gulf coast state of Tabasco are evacuating about 7,000 people and preparing to dig relief channels to avoid further flooding from the Grijalva River.

Weeks of steady rains have caused a half-dozen rivers to overflow, partially flooding the homes or croplands of more than 60,000 people in about 200 towns. Dams in the area are near capacity.

The federal government has declared a state of emergency for 12 low-laying Tabasco townships, freeing emergency funds.

The state government said it would evacuate people on Sunday, and authorities said relief ditches would be dug to channel water through less-populated areas to prevent flooding in the state capital, which was severely flooded in 2007.