Mexico: Meeting at Los Pinos to evaluate the relief efforts for the states affected by the rains

from Government of Mexico
Published on 10 Oct 1999
Press Release 1802

Los Pinos, October 10, 1999

President Zedillo and his Cabinet evaluated relief efforts for victims of the flooding

  • The President of the Republic gave instructions for aid from civil organizations to be channeled through the state offices for Integral Family Development (DIF).
  • The Federal Government has provided 800 tons of food.
  • The National Fund for Natural Disasters is being used in support of the damaged areas of Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas.
  • Saving more lives, air, land and sea bridges are the priorities.
  • 272,000 people have suffered losses and 70 thousand are in 450 provisional shelters.
  • The clean-up will be concluded within a week, and reconstruction will begin.
  • Mexico has a full culture of civil protection.
  • President Zedillo postponed his work visit to Europe.
The President of the Republic, Ernesto Zedillo, met today with members of the Legal and Extended Cabinet to evaluate the progress made and results achieved in terms of aid to the areas of the country affected by the rains.

At a press conference, the Secretary of the Interior, Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano, reported that action was guided by two priorities, to privilege saving human lives, and to establish air, land and sea bridges to reach all of the communities with medicine, water and food.

He also emphasized that the Federal Government has collected 800 tons of food that are being distributed in the towns that suffered severe damage; and the Department of the Interior has established communication with the chambers of commerce and suppliers to avoid price hikes, speculation and abuses.

The Federal, state and municipal governments are working together on relief in the states of Veracruz, Hidalgo, Puebla, Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas, where the storms caused severe damage, he noted.

He explained that the Secretary of National Defense has implemented the DN-III National Disaster Plan in Puebla, Coatzacoalcos, Poza Rica and Villa Hermosa, where 9,551 troops are stationed, reinforced by 225 more from the transmission area; 48 helicopters, four Hercules planes and 10 boats. The Department of the Navy has evacuated more then 2,300 people and 201 families of victims.

He announced that, in order to deal with this emergency situation brought on in several regions of the country by the torrential rains over the past few days, 2,200 million pesos have been made available from the National Fund for Natural Disasters (FONDEN).

In the Venustiano Carranza room of the official residence of Los Pinos, Carrasco Altamirano pointed out that the health sector has created health care committees in each state. There are 100 medical brigades in the state of Veracruz; 46 in Puebla, 49 in Hidalgo and 20 in Tabasco.

He also pointed out that, to date, 175 municipalities have reported damage; 314 people have died; 272,000 have suffered losses, and there are 450 temporary shelters housing 70,000 people.

He estimated that the clean-up and opening of roads will conclude in about a week, then reconstruction will begin.

Finally, the Secretary of the Interior said that there have been no problems or breaks in the dams, and that these are operating to their utmost capacity in order to prevent further flooding.

He stressed that Mexico has a full culture of civil protection, which has made it possible for our society to organize to avoid greater disasters.

Within the press conference, the General Director of Social Communication and Spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic, Fernando Lerdo de Tejada, reported that the work visit President Zedillo is planning to Europe will be postponed to give priority to the relief tasks for the Mexican people who have been affected by the torrential rains.