Mexico City – About 470 families have been evacuated in Altamira, a city in the Mexican Gulf state of Tamaulipas, due to the rise in the level of the Tamesi River as a result of the heavy rains from Tropical Storm Arlene, which passed through the area last week, officials said.
About 90 percent of the residents living in low-lying areas were evacuated on Wednesday and taken to shelters on higher ground, Altamira Mayor Pedro Carrillo told reporters.
"The rest of the people did not want to leave and stayed to look after their property," the mayor said.
The evacuees, most of whom earn a living as fishermen, have been given food, water and medical assistance, Carrillo said.
Each family was also provided with 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of gasoline so they could leave the area, the mayor said.
About 5,000 people live in areas at risk of flooding, the state government's secretary-general, Morelos Canseco, said in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas.
Tropical Storm Arlene, packing maximum sustained winds of about 100 kph (62 mph), made landfall a week ago near Cabo Rojo, a town on the east coast of Mexico.
Arlene, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, killed 22 people as it moved across Mexico, the national emergency management office said earlier this week.
The storm killed 16 men, four women and two people whose gender has not been determined, the emergency management office said.
Ten of the victims, including one in an automobile, perished when they were swept away while trying to cross a river, while six others died in mudslides and five were electrocuted, of whom three touched downed power lines and two were struck by lightning.
Five people died in Hidalgo, five in San Luis Potosi, one in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, and one in Puebla, all located in central Mexico.
The storm also killed three people in the eastern state of Veracruz and two in Guerrero, two in Oaxaca and one in Chiapas, located in southern Mexico, as well as two people in Tamaulipas.
Arlene quickly dissipated as it moved over land, but the storm dumped heavy rains in some areas, the emergency management office said.
The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30.