Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tragic Mudslides at Lake Chapala
There has been a tragic turn of events here. The next town to the west of Ajijic, San Juan Cosala, has suffered devastating mudslides. Apparently, early yesterday morning, there was a waterspout, which resembles a tornado, which sucked water out of the lake and dumped much of it high in the mountain above San Juan Cosala (SJC) This area is quite vulnerable to mudslides, for some reason, and the problem has been exacerbated by the fact that people have been building homes high up in the mountains, even though scientists have warned against this. There is a very upscale development called the Racquet Club above SJC.
Initial reports are incomplete and not confirmed, but it appears as though many homes in the Racquet Club area have been completely destroyed or heavily damaged by mud and huge boulders which came down from the mountain. Homes in the lower village have been damaged by the mud and rocks from the mountain. About 25 cars have been swept away by the water. There have been some deaths, and other people are missing. The road into SJC has been completely blocked and is unpassable, so many people are stranded in their homes. They have set up shelters for people; the military and Cruz Roja (the Red Cross) is using helcopters to evacuate people.
We are fine in Ajijic. Some streets have had minor flooding, but this is common in the rainy season. SJC is especially vulnerable to this type of damage; a similar problem occurred about eight years ago. The community is pulling together to collect money, food, and other needs for our neighbors in SJC. I have at least three students in my class who live in SJC, and I am concerned about them.
I did not take these photos. They were provided from news reports and another local blog. Photos of the worst areas won't be available until people can get into the area.
This is all I know now. I don't know if any of this is being reported by the US press, but if you see anything, don't worry about us; we're fine. I'll post more information as it becomes available.