MEXICO CITY – Hurricane Karl’s destructive path through the Mexican state of Veracruz left a million people affected, 12 dead and damages of some 50 billion pesos ($3.9 billion), Gov. Fidel Herrera said Tuesday.
The rains swept in by Karl were the equivalent of those from all seven previous hurricanes that have struck Veracruz in recorded history, the governor told Televisa television.
He said that the tasks of dredging and pumping out water in the dozens of flooded municipalities will take at least seven days.
Despite the extensive damage, Herrera said, the Gulf coast state of 7.5 million people “is still standing.”
The governor said residents of affected areas will be exempted from paying water bills for the time being and that he hoped to extend the arrangement to electricity.
Herrera also plans to advocate tax breaks for people and businesses affected by the storm.
He hailed the fact that neither the crucial port of Veracruz nor the infrastructure of state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, were affected by Karl, which made landfall in the state last Friday as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 195 kph (120 mph), but later dissipated over the mountains of southern Mexico.
Karl left a total of 12 dead in Veracruz, two in Puebla state and another in the state of Tabasco.
A total of 117 municipalities of Veracruz, representing 68 percent of the state’s territory, have been declared in a state of emergency by the federal interior ministry.
This year has brought Mexico the heaviest rains since 1941. EFE