The death toll has risen to 123 from the deadly storms that flooded much of Mexico, causing major destruction to both houses and land across the nation.
The country’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong announced the new figure on Monday while visiting the heavily-damaged resort city of Acapulco, located on the Pacific coast. Chong added that some 59,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to the devastation caused by last week’s Hurricane Manuel and Tropical Storm Ingrid. A number of mudslides and flooding have destroyed tens of thousands of homes and wrecked highways and bridges in all but five of Mexico’s 31 states. The twin storms caused destruction in various degress to a total of 1.5 million homes across Mexico. The worst hit region is the southern state of Guerrero, one of the country’s poorest areas, where dozens of people are still missing and feared dead after a mudslide buried 40 homes in the village of La Pintada. The agriculture ministry has declared about three percent of the country’s total farmland as “completely lost” as a result of the storms. The destroyed area amounts to 613,000 hectares (1.5 million acres). Some experts have blamed the devastating destruction on human factors such as bad urban planning, poorly designed roads and widespread illegal logging. Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong acknowledged that the disaster is partly the result of "irregular settlements in places where no settlements should have been authorized." Guerrero Governor Angel Aguirre said last week that investments and unregulated housing developments were often the product of "political deals" and "acts of corruption." Meanwhile, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on September 22 that Mexico’s Congress is to revise its proposed 2014 budget to increase emergency funding of roughly 12 billion pesos (USD 939 million), which would allow more disaster spending.