In the wake of flooding that has forced the evacuation of thousands of people in southern Mexico, the Mexican government is asking for help.

"There's a big problem with the flooding; there are thousands of people unable to enter their homes," said Guido Arochi, consul of community affairs for the Salt Lake Mexican Consulate. "There's a great need of water and food supplies and medicine for these people."

The flooding started in late October after a week of torrential rain, leaving 80 percent of the state of Tabasco flooded, including its capital city, and destroying or damaging the homes of more than 500,000 people, according to Associated Press reports.

On Tuesday, 16 people were reported missing after a mud slide slammed into a rain-swollen river, wiping out a small village, The Associated Press reported. Before the mudslide, there had been an unofficial death count of 10.

Mexican consulates and embassies in 16 countries, including the United States, have opened accounts for donations. So far the United States is among 11 countries that have offered assistance.

Non-governmental organizations, including the Mexican Red Cross, were also assisting in relief efforts.

The American Red Cross reported that nearly 25,000 people remained in shelters managed by the Mexican Army, and that rising water had left as many as 300,000 people cut off from aid. And flood alerts had been issued for parts of the neighboring state of Chiapas.

By Tuesday, most people had been evacuated from the flooded regions, Arochi said. However, he said that because of the extent of the infrastructure damage, it could be months before the region is fully recovered.

"Right now the priority is to coordinate the efforts in order to bring essentials for them," he said. "The Mexican government, along with the military, is bringing goods and essentials that the Tobasco people need."

E-mail: [email protected]