7,500 Mexicans evacuate; flooding shuts oil wells

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexican officials have evacuated 7,500 people and are keeping oil wells shut in Veracruz due to severe flooding from heavy rains along Mexico's Gulf coast.

The state's top civil protection official, Ranulfo Marquez, says large sections of the towns of Minatitlan and Hidalgotitlan are under 10 feet of water.

With rain-swollen rivers jumping their banks, residents have been wading through chest-high waters and floating down roads on canoes.

Marquez said Monday that water levels are starting to drop, and Petroleos Mexicanos spokeswoman Georgina Saavedra says five Pemex wells remain closed.

The wells shut down Sept. 22 produce at least 1,500 barrels of crude per day. Their closure is not expected to affect prices.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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