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Thousands flee flooding in Mexico

  • Story Highlights
  • One dead as hundreds of thousands flee rising floodwaters
  • About 80 percent of the city of Villahermosa is under water
  • Tabasco and Chiapas states hardest hit
  • Authorities say 700,000 affected and 300,000 still trapped by flooding
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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- Heavy rains and flooding have forced hundreds of thousands of people from homes in southern Mexico's state of Tabasco over the past four days, with nearly as many trapped by the rising waters, state officials said Thursday.

Officials say about 300,000 people are still trapped by the worst flooding in the region for 50 years.

The Grijalva River pushed over its banks through the state capital of Villahermosa on Thursday, forcing government workers to evacuate and leaving up to 80 percent of the city flooded, Gov. Andres Granier's office told CNN.

About 700,000 people have seen their homes flooded, with about 300,000 of those still trapped there, Granier's office reported.

One death had been blamed on the floods, which followed weeks of heavy rain in the largely swampy state. Tabasco borders Guatemala to the south and the Gulf of Mexico to the north.

The Associated Press reported that thousands of people clung to rooftops, huddled inside waterlogged homes or hunkered down in shelters in an attempt to survive the worst flooding the region has seen in 50 years.

Weather forecasters predicted more rain in the coming days. The flooding was not related to Tropical Storm Noel, which was pounding the Caribbean.

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The Grijalva River, one of two large waterways ringing Villahermosa, has risen 6.5 feet (2 meters) above its "critical" level and gushed into the city's center, according to AP. Authorities said some of the rivers were continuing to rise.

President Felipe Calderon visited the area on Wednesday and promised the federal government's full support. Non-governmental organizations throughout the country asked people to donate non-perishable goods or cash, AP said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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