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Mexican officials rush aid to flooded Gulf Coast state

Villahermosa, Mexico_Tens of thousands of people today fled a flooded region of Mexico's swampy gulf coast.  A week of heavy rains caused rivers to overflow, leaving at least 70 percent of the swampy, oil-rich state of Tabasco under water.

The evacuees hiked out on foot -- and some even jumped from rooftops into rescue helicopters.  Mexican President Felipe Calderon, flying over a state that was nearly swallowed by rising rivers, says it's one of the country's worst recent natural disasters.

Much of the state capital, Villahermosa, looked like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, with murky water reaching to rooftops.  At least one death was reported.  Nearly all services, including drinking water and public transportation, were shut down.

Calderon has called on Mexicans to donate emergency supplies to help the 900,000 affected people.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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