CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – At least eight people have died in two Mexican states in recent days amid a cold wave that has sent temperatures plunging to as low as -5 C (23 F), officials said.
Emergency management personnel in the northern state of Chihuahua said in a press conference Friday that six people died between Dec. 31 and Jan. 4 in that state of hypothermia, as well as of carbon monoxide poisoning and burns stemming from the use of coal-fired heaters.
Civil Protection Coordinator Virgilio Camacho said four of the victims died of hypothermia, two of them in the town of Guachochi and two others in Chihuahua city, the state capital.
Two other people died in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, one of burns in a house fire and the other of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ninety other people have been hospitalized during the same period for burns, carbon monoxide and natural gas poisoning and hypothermia.
Chihuahua authorities declared a state of emergency in the state after two days of continuous snowfall in Ciudad Juarez brought that metropolis and other nearby municipalities to a virtual standstill.
The current cold wave has mainly affected the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.
Separately, authorities in the southwestern state of Michoacan reported that two Indians died in recent days of hypothermia, one in the city of Morelia and the other in Patzcuaro.
The state Attorney General’s Office said the autopsies showed that the victims, both of whom had slept outside in frigid temperatures, died of cardiac arrest brought on by hypothermia.
Spokespersons with the federal Health Secretariat, meanwhile, said that next week they will begin providing consolidated reports on deaths in the current winter season.