Mexico to revise 2014 budget after storms, death toll around 115

MEXICO CITY, Sept 22 Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:03pm EDT

MEXICO CITY, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's Congress will revise its proposed 2014 budget in the wake of some of the worst storm damage in decades, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Sunday as the death toll from widespread flooding and mudslides rose to some 115.

The government earlier this month said it aimed to run a budget deficit this year and next as it forges ahead with spending on infrastructure. It must now find additional funds to repair roads and infrastructure hammered by the storms.

Pena Nieto said Mexico's Congress "will absolutely have to adjust" the federal budget in light of the mounting damage caused by Tropical Storm Ingrid and Hurricane Manuel over the past week.

He did not specify new funding levels beyond the roughly 12 billion Mexican pesos ($938.97 million) available in emergency funding.

Pena Nieto added in a speech in the northwestern state of Sinaloa that the death toll from the storms stands at "110 or 115."

Mexico's government aims to widen the budget deficit next year to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, the finance ministry said on Sept. 8.

The ministry also asked Congress to approve a deficit of 0.4 percent of GDP for 2013 after an economic slowdown this year hurt government revenue.

At least two more people died when a Black Hawk rescue helicopter crashed on a hillside near the stricken village of La Pintada in southern Guerrero state, the government said late on Saturday night. Only the deaths of two pilots and a mechanic were confirmed from the accident previously, and the additional two victims were listed as rescue workers.

Meanwhile, nearly 70 people remained missing after a mudslide caused by torrential rains buried 40 homes in La Pintada.

Pena Nieto said on Saturday that there was little hope anyone had survived the mudslide in the village.

Guerrero state, home to the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, has been the hardest hit by heavy rains unleashed by Hurricane Manuel last week.

Mudslides and flooding have buried homes and badly damaged highways and bridges in all but two of the country's 31 states, according to government officials.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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