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At Least 118 Killed as Hurricane Pauline...

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ACAPULCO, MEXICO (AP) — Tropical StormPauline dumped torrents of rain on western Mexico today and was breakingup over the inland mountains after spawning deadly flooding and mudslidesthat killed at least 118 people. 

Twice as many people were reported injured and dozens were missing afterthe storm's four-day rampage through the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero,home to Acapulco. There were no reports of deaths or injuries among tourists. 

Heavy rains turned streets into roaring rivers of debris. Water sweptboulders the size of cars down the hills and flipped vehicles like toys,catching some with lights still on, their doors underwater. Wind-batteredpalm trees bowed over along the avenues lined by hotels. 

A coastal highway skirting the famed beaches teemed with raging water,and one man's body was planted in the mud, arms outstretched and mouthagape. 

``This is a very sad day,'' Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre said. ``We don'trecall a hurricane ever having caused such damage.'' 

Authorities appealed for help for Acapulco, which the federal governmentdeclared a disaster area. The beach resort had run out of gasoline, drinkingwater, food, clothing, medicines and many more essentials. 

Pauline was downgraded from hurricane status on Thursday and was ``weakeningrapidly'' today, the U.S. Hurricane Center in Miami said. It warned thoughthat heavy rains and flooding were still likely. 

At 2 a.m. EDT the center of Pauline was located about 100 miles eastof the coast resort of Manzanillo, the center said. Winds had dropped to40 mph - well below the hurricane level of 74 mph. 

Ports as far north as Mazatlan were closed, though seas had calmed significantlyalong Mexico's southern Pacific coast. Air traffic was suspended. Powerwas out along much of the coast, and telephone service was spotty. 

Guerrero state secretary Humberto Salgado said 94 people died Thursdayin Acapulco - most of them drowned by flash floods. 

Rescuers dug bodies out of mud heaps and collapsed buildings and broughtthem to the local morgue, where 65 bodies were laid out for identification.Some of the contorted cadavers were dressed in night clothes. 

``My god this is hard,'' said Julio Rodriguez, looking for his father-in-law,missing since the morning. ``They are unrecognizable.'' 

In neighboring Oaxaca state, where Pauline first struck with 115-mphwinds a day earlier, state government spokesman Leandro Hernandez confirmed19 deaths, 15 people missing and thousands of homeless. 

``The figure could still rise,'' Hernandez told The Associated Pressby telephone from the state, where Pauline ripped makeshift homes awayand badly damaged such resorts as Puerto Angel. 

Fueled by the warm El Nino ocean currents, Pauline generated toweringwaves - 30 feet tall on exposed coasts - that pounded Acapulco's pristinebeaches and littered them with trash and twisted lounge chairs. 

President Ernesto Zedillo, on a state visit to Germany, ordered armytroops into stricken areas along a long stretch of coast. Troops in Humveespoured into Acapulco by the hundreds to secure areas around homes wreckedby raging floods. 

TV footage showed bodies mired in the mud. Jaime Hernandez, 40, wholives in the hills near Acapulco, said police took away at least sevenbodies after mud and water came rushing down before dawn. 

``We've got rain coming down, mudslides blocking roads. Houses havefallen, walls are down,'' Red Cross spokesman Marco Antonio Santiago said. 

Many foreigners huddled in hotels while hundreds of Mexicans up anddown the coast remained in emergency shelters. 

``You feel bad for the people - there's so much poverty and it's theoff-season and now this,'' said Joyce Walton, a 33-year-old tourist fromChicago. Acapulco's deadliest drama unfolded in working neighborhoods onthe hills above the five-star oceanfront hotels as a 40-foot-wide torrenttumbled toward the sea. 

``We felt our apartment building tremble because of the rocks the riverwas throwing against the foundations,'' said Elilasio Garcia, 22, who escapedone 10-story concrete building when a nearly dry gulch sprang to life. 

Hundreds of modest homes of cement and wood tottered and collapsed intofloodwaters and knee-deep torrents raced down many streets closer to Acapulco'sbeach, rushing to the sea. 

Hurricane Pauline barreled ashore near Huatulco in Oaxaca state on Wednesday,blowing down plywood homes. 

In a public housing project in Huatulco, children drew water from adirty canal using buckets after the canal overflowed its banks and sent3 feet of mud into homes there. 

``The water took away everything,'' said Rosaura Aguilar Ramirez, 38.``It took our clothes. It took our dishes. Everything.'' 

By MARK STEVENSON,Associated Press Writer 

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