Death toll in Mexico from storm Ernesto rises to six

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 04, 2012 10:10 AM
Death toll in Mexico from storm Ernesto rises to six

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The death toll attributed to the storm Ernesto rose to six on Friday although it continued to weaken as it passed through Mexico's eastern Veracruz state.

Three members of one family were killed on Thursday night when a tree fell on their pick-up truck about 60 miles southwest of Veracruz city, according to a state civil protection official. A fourth family member, a six-year-old child, was also injured in the accident.

Ernesto is blamed for causing torrential rains and flooding in nearby rivers.

According to local officials, three other people died earlier on Thursday -- one in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, after falling while working on home repairs; and two more who drowned in next-door Tabasco state.

Three major oil-exporting ports in the Gulf of Mexico were re-opened on Friday morning as the storm no longer posed a risk to ships leaving installations in Coatzacoalcos, Cayo Arcas and Dos Bocas, which ship most of Mexico's crude oil exports.

Flooding could damage agriculture in southern Veracruz, a major corn producing area, according to Federico Assaleih, president of the state's agriculture council.

"We have received reports that some (corn) plantations were flooded yesterday," said Assaleih, but he added that the extent of crop damage would not be known for several days.

Ernesto, which the U.S. National Hurricane Center said dissipated on Friday morning, made landfall on Mexico's Yucatan coast late on Tuesday as a Category 1 hurricane.

(Reporting By Liz Diaz; Additional reporting and writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Sandra Maler)