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El Niño rains threaten Tijuana's vulnerable homes




Jared Blumenfeld, right, regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, walks with Wildcoast coastal program manager Paloma Aguirre among debris in the Tijuana River just north of the border with Mexico Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, in San Diego. Officials are worried El Niño rains could flood the area. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Jared Blumenfeld, right, regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, walks with Wildcoast coastal program manager Paloma Aguirre among debris in the Tijuana River just north of the border with Mexico Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, in San Diego. Officials are worried El Niño rains could flood the area. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Gregory Bull/AP

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The break in rains this week from El Niño could be welcome news for weary homeowners and city planners who have been scrambling to respond. That's also the case south of the border in Tijuana.

Recent rains there have brought landslides, broken walls and flooded homes.

"Some [residents] had walls of mud coming at them and others were dealing with leaks and wondering if they needed to evacuate," said Sandra Dibble, reporter at the San Diego Union Tribune.

Dibble visited an area of the city called Palma Real, a working-class development in the southeastern edge of Tijuana. There's even more concern for those living in informal housing near flood channels who are vulnerable to landslides.

"It was a good warning, a good test for people who live in these neighborhoods: be really careful, the water can come suddenly and just take you away," said Dibble.