Disaster declarations have been issued in 38 cities in southern and eastern Mexico affected last week by Hurricane Ernesto, the Government Secretariat said.

The disaster declarations will allow officials in Veracruz, Guerrero and Tabasco states to obtain Natural Disaster Fund, or Fonden, money to deal with the damage.

The funds will allow officials to "deal with the food, clothing and health needs of the population," the secretariat said.

Disaster declarations were issued for 31 cities in Veracruz, which is on the Gulf of Mexico, five cities in the southern state of Guerrero and two in the southeastern state of Tabasco.

Hurricane Ernesto, which first made landfall a week ago on the Yucatan Peninsula, reached Category 1 status and killed 12 people on its path through Mexico.

Ernesto first made landfall near Mahahual, a fishing town in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, as a Category 1 hurricane packing winds of up to 165 kph (103 mph).

The storm crossed the Yucatan Peninsula last Wednesday without causing any casualties or serious damage and then moved back over water.

Early Thursday afternoon, it made landfall near Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, bringing winds of 96 kph (60 mph) and causing two deaths in the neighboring state of Tabasco.

Ernesto was the fifth tropical cyclone of the 2012 Atlantic season, following Alberto, Beryl, Chris and Debby. Chris and Ernesto both became hurricanes.

The season officially began on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30, but two storms - Alberto and Beryl - formed in May.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has revised its forecast for the Atlantic.

Forecasters now expect the season to be more active, with 12 to 17 tropical storms and five to eight hurricanes forming. EFE