Mexico: Heavy rains flood Tabasco and Veracruz, ADRA responds

Silver Spring, Maryland - In response to recent flooding in the southeastern states of Tabasco and Veracruz along Mexico's Gulf Coast, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is providing aid to more than 2,500 flood survivors. Heavy rains caused numerous rivers and creeks to overflow and left hundreds of communities under water, affecting more than 400,000 in the combined states.

ADRA is operating five temporary shelters and providing three meals a day to nearly 400 people in Tabasco, capital of Villahermosa, at the request of local authorities. ADRA is also distributing emergency food baskets to 200 families in the nearby city of Cardenas, as well as delivering drinking water and assisting families staying in shelters in Minatitlán, Veracruz. In addition, ADRA has also provided 230 food baskets for affected families in the surrounding communities.

Family-sized food baskets contain a two-week supply of corn flour, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, beans, lentils, milk, tuna, cooking oil, sugar, salt, and vitamins. Funders for this immediate response project include ADRA International, ADRA Canada, the ADRA regional office based in Miami, Fla., and ADRA Mexico.

"In Villahermosa, people had to evacuate their homes just to avoid being isolated by the high floodwaters," said Rafael Garcia, country director for ADRA Mexico. "That is why we are operating temporary shelters and providing hot meals."

Many residents of Cardenas and Minatitlán chose to stay at home to protect their belongings from looters and to begin the recovery process immediately. ADRA is coordinating with the Department of Civil Protection of the affected municipalities in order to identify beneficiaries and provide effective assistance to those families as well.

"This has been a very busy year for us, " added Garcia. "We usually have three or four projects from this time of the year until November, but the rains have made the situation much worse."

Between September 19 and 23, continued rainfall in the mountains of Chiapas and Oaxaca caused widespread flooding in Tabasco and Veracruz, submerging large sections of Minatitlán under 10 feet (3 m) of water. In Veracruz, over 10,000 homes in 68 municipalities were flooded. In Villahermosa alone, the Carrizales River flooded the city, displacing nearly 30,000 people from their homes.

On October 7, Tropical Storm Marco, the thirteenth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall in Veracruz, flooding highways along the coast. Hurricane Norbert, a Category 2 storm, is currently less than 270 miles (435 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, sustaining winds of up to 100 mph (161 kph). It is expected to strike Mexico as early as Saturday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla.

To assist in ADRA's emergency response to the flooding in Mexico, contributions can be made to ADRA's Emergency Response Fund, by phone at 1.800.424.ADRA (2372) or online at

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

Additional information about ADRA can be found at