Flood Relief in Mexico Update January 2000

Catholic Relief Services staff continue to work with Caritas Mexico in response to severe flooding and landslides in the southeastern regions of Mexico. To address the most immediate needs of nearly 67,500 critically affected people Catholic Relief Services has contributed more than $210,000 for emergency relief items.
Initial distributions to 35,000 families included food rations of rice, beans, sugar, oil, cookies, sardines, pasta, corn flour and medicine. Throughout the next several weeks, agency staff will continue to work with Caritas Mexico in order to reach an additional 16,000 people with corn flour, beans, rice, vegetable oil, sugar, salt and basic medicines.

There are many people who have been living in emergency conditions for more than 40 days. Financial support for food and medicines is still a chronic need.

Background of the Situation

The flooding and landslides are mainly due to a tropical depression that hit the Mexican states of Puebla, Tabasco, Veracruz and Hidalgo. Torrential rains have created the worst flooding in over 40 years and at least four major rivers continue to overflow. After the rains, dams were so full that they too overflowed.

Reportedly 341 have died and close to 300,000 people remain affected throughout 179 municipalities. More than half of these people are in one of the 641 temporary shelters previously established. Currently, one of the most serious problems affecting the flood victims are skin infections due to prolonged immersion in water. An estimated 300,000 hectares of cropland have been destroyed and more than 1,300 schools and hospitals are severely damaged.

The government of Mexico has declared the five states of Jalisco, Michoacac, Puebla, Tabasco, and Oaxaca as disaster areas. Additionally, the three states of Chiapas, Veracruz, Hidalgo are in a state of emergency.

Copyright=A91999 CRS