The Miami Herald
Aug. 17, 2002

Heavy rains burst dams in central Mexico, killing at least 11 people

  VILLA DE REYES, Mexico - (AP) -- Heavy rains burst two dams and sent a wave of flood waters roaring over villages in central Mexico, where authorities
  said at least 11 people were killed -- including a 6-month-old baby. A mother and son and one other woman were missing Friday and feared dead.

  Rains eased and skies were clearing in the states of San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas, where the dams broke Thursday. But state officials warned that
  three other dams were in danger.

  In San Luis Potosi, the Los Dolores dam buckled under heavy rains early Thursday. Villa de Reyes and surrounding villages were flooded and nine people
  died, including the baby, said Rosendo Segura, a spokesman for the city's mayor.

  The city is 220 miles north of Mexico City. The region is about half way between the capital and the southern tip of Texas.

  Water gushed through the streets, reaching the rooftops of many houses and washing away dozens of others. The strong current carried along cows,
  cars and people struggling to pull themselves to safety.

  Cleto Gonzalez told the Pulso newspaper in San Luis Potosi that he awoke shortly after 2 a.m. to find his bed surrounded by water.

  ''My furniture was bobbing along, and I immediately woke up my family and took them to a safe place,'' he told the newspaper.

  Some residents said they heard the boom as the 16th-century dam broke, releasing torrents of water.

  Civil defense authorities declared a state of emergency in Villa de Reyes and several surrounding areas. Nearly 2,000 people were left homeless by the
  floods, authorities said.

  In neighboring Zacatecas, the El Capulin dam also burst Thursday, unleashing a wall of water on the city of Villa Garcia. A 73-year-old woman and a
  3-year-old girl drowned, state authorities said. The mother of the 3-year-old girl was missing and feared dead, state authorities said.

  Authorities declared a state of emergency in Villa Garcia and two other Zacatecas cities. Rain waters in the area briefly displaced 3,000 people, but most
  of those were allowed back in their homes, a state spokesman said.