Tijuana Flood Cleanup

Flash floods hit parts of Tijuana on Sunday. Water runs from the hillside of colonia Buena Vista.
Flash floods hit parts of Tijuana on Sunday. Water runs from the hillside of colonia Buena Vista. — Alejandro Tamayo

SDUT By Sandra Dibble | 6:24 p.m. July 20, 2015 | Updated, 8:23 p.m.

— Several dozen residents were left homeless in Tijuana by Sunday’s rainstorm, authorities said Monday. Seven areas of the city suffered significant flooding, and landslides were reported at five locations, said Juan Carlos Méndez Torres, the city’s civil protection chief.

Méndez reported 127 houses suffered damage, including 10 that were destroyed. The hardest-hit area was in eastern Tijuana, in an area where families were living in a streambed.

“They had been notified that this was a high-risk zone,” Méndez said. In a southern area of the city, in a neighborhood called Colonia Fidel Velazquez, 40 vehicles were caught in the flooding, Méndez said.

The city’s secretary-general, Bernardo Padilla, told reporters that 295 people had been directly affected across the city, with 43 staying overnight in government shelters.

Padilla said that authorities had anticipated the storm but not its intensity. In one area, the water rose by more than five feet, he said, and in one instance the currents were so strong that they turned over a police patrol vehicle.

“The situation was the sudden rise in water … that unfortunately dragged trash people that left on the street,” Padilla said.

Méndez, the city’s civil protection chief, urged residents to refrain from throwing trash into streambeds, as the items are pulled downstream and clog storm drains.

The police department’s overnight log showed officers responding to some two dozen flood-related calls in different parts of the city on Sunday, from the early afternoon through the evening hours. The reports told of crumbled walls, clogged storm drains, flooded vehicles and residences.

On Monday afternoon, the state health department issued a statement urging residents to stay away from the city’s beaches, “due to the possibility of catching a disease as a result of the flow and presence of untreated water.”

Meanwhile, the city’s public works department announced Monday that crews had collected 65,000 tons or rubbish and heavy trash from different areas of the city.

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