"Lamentably, I have to say that Mexico doesn't have a culture of prevention," said Ortigosa, 37. "We're always reacting. We have a saying here: 'When the child drowns, we want to cap the well.' "
Mini-mart owner Franklin Alcudia's neighborhood north of downtown was among those hardest hit. On Wednesday morning, with an armload of salvaged possessions, he slid down an awning from a second-floor window above his store into a waiting rowboat, one of several makeshift water taxis that have popped up here.