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Intensive rains in Central Mexico have resulted in the bursting of a dam which is situated at some one and a half hours from San Luis Potosi. Initial surveys by the Mexican Red Cross (MRC) indicate that around 100 houses have been damaged and some 600 people lost all their possessions, washed away in the flood waters. Three people have died and 11 are still missing. The rains continue, but are lessening in intensity. Three shelters have been set up in the area, one of which is managed by the Mexican Red Cross.
The San Luis Potosi branch of the National Society, with some 300 Red Cross volunteers, is providing medicine and clothing, together with first aid assistance. Search and rescue activities are also being carried out. Basic services have not been affected and it is possible to travel by road, although conditions are difficult.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Action
In the region of Zacatecas, in the village of Villa Garcia, severe flooding has also occurred following 24 hours of heavy rains and the bursting of a dam. Initial reports from the MRC indicate that three people have died and some 1,000 people have been affected, losing all their belongings. 250 houses have been damaged, of which 27 were totally destroyed. The Red Cross branch and approximately 200 volunteers are distributing food, clothing and medicine, as necessary, in coordination with the government, the civil defense and the government. There is concern for around 150 people living in the surrounding areas who refuse to evacuate their houses. A shelter has been established by the army in the area for those affected.
At present, the MRC is in a position to respond to the needs of the affected at local level with relief goods which are warehoused. These items will be replaced through goods provided from the central warehouse of the National Society. Nevertheless, funds are sought in order to implement community based disaster education and preparedness projects in the two affected areas.
The situation on the ground is less dramatic than portrayed by the international media. The rains are now subsiding, and a damage and needs assessment is to be undertaken immediately, coordinated from the Mexican Red Cross headquarters.
The MRC continues to monitor the situation and the regional delegation and the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) are maintaining contact with the National Society. The American Red Cross has expressed interest in providing assistance.
Into bulletin no. 112UUZ; Mexico: Moods
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Division of External Relations