Mexico: Overview of support given to flood victims

from Government of Mexico
Published on 18 Oct 1999
Press Release 1815

Zacatlán, Puebla, October 18, 1999.

While supervising aid work in Puebla, President Zedillo gave an overview of support given to flood victims

  • We must maintain our efforts to solve problems and help flood victims
  • President Zedillo gave an overview of aid given to victims between September 30th and October 18th.
  • We are gradually overcoming the emergency situation in Puebla.
  • A total of 7,112 people were rescued from high-risk situations; 75,000 people received support at 526 shelters.
  • 4,100 tons of provisions, 200,000 liters of milk and 935 tons of medicines have been sent to communities affected by flooding.
  • The drinking water service has been reestablished for 440,000 people and 610,000 people once again have electrical energy.
  • More than 368,000 children have now returned to school.
  • 26 of the 28 damaged Federal highways have now been provisionally reopened.
  • 90,000 homes suffered partial or total damage.
  • Temporary employment has been given to a million people.
  • The Federal Government will provide support for the inhabitants of Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Tabasco and Puebla.
  • President Zedillo supervised aid work in the communities of Zacatlán and Ahuacatlán.
During a work tour to supervise aid in the communities of Zacatlán and Ahuacatlán, Puebla, President Ernesto Zedillo commented that we are currently in a situation in which we must not cease our efforts, lower our guard or overlook the problems of isolated villages and communities. He added that we are fully aware that just a few days of bad weather would suffice to once again generate supply difficulties.

After making an evaluation of the measures implemented from September 30th to date, President Zedillo gave instructions that, weather permitting, the greatest possible efforts be made to bring provisions to these communities. Likewise, the President called for the use of all means at our disposal to repair roads and highways, and to reinforce all elements which, in a few days time, could help us overcome the emergency and begin reconstruction work in isolated communities.

President Zedillo announced that, due to the torrential rains, 7,112 people were rescued from high-risk situations; and, 75,000 people have received support in 526 shelters where 770,000 hot meals were distributed.

Aid is being provided through the coordinated efforts of the three levels of Government, so as to offset the emergency and overcome the serious isolation of zones like the northern region of Puebla. Rescue work has been supported by 1,331 helicopter flights and 44 cargo plane flights, that have brought provisions to communities.

So far, a total of 4,100 tons of provisions, 200,000 liters of milk and 935 tons of medicines, of which 300 tons have been allocated to Puebla, have been delivered.

Addressing men, women, the elderly and children of the Northern Sierra of Puebla, Dr. Zedillo explained that, despite the current situation, health care conditions are nonetheless satisfactory. So far, there have been no cases of dengue or cholera and 500,000 house visits have been made to prevent the outbreak of epidemics.

With regard to the damage undergone by the drinking water system, Dr. Zedillo commented that the National Water Commission has reestablished the service to 440,000 people. Likewise, in order to reinforce the water supply, a further two million liters of bottled water have also been provided.

The President also mentioned that the electricity service has been restored for 610,000 people in communities damaged by the rains; some of these villages are isolated from urban zones.

He remarked that intense work is under way on damaged schools to enable classes to continue as soon as possible; so far, 368,000 students have returned to class.

Social attention tables situated in the affected zones have registered 90,000 families whose homes were partially or totally damaged; housing programs will also be implemented in the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz and Hidalgo.

President Ernesto Zedillo explained that, through the Temporary Employment Program, we are seeking to provide jobs and income alternatives for people whose agricultural production has been ruined, or who have lost their homes and jobs. To date, one million people have been hired.

As part of his overview of fifteen main actions, President Zedillo mentioned that, of the 28 Federal highways affected by the rains, 26 have now been provisionally reopened to traffic, thus bringing this aspect of the emergency to a close. Furthermore, of the 300 damaged rural roads, 188 correspond to the state of Puebla, and repair work is under currently way.

Meanwhile, the Head of the 25th Military Zone in Puebla, Pedro Juárez Navarrete, reported that, through Plan DN-III, medical services, shelters, hot food, mattresses, blankets and tools have been given to 8,200 inhabitants of 136 communities in the municipality of Zacapoaxtla, and to 175,156 people living in 565 communities in the municipality of Huauchinango.

He explained that collection centers in both municipalities have mechanisms to control the entry and exit of goods to the communities of Pantepec, Avila Camacho, Nuevo Necaxa, Patla, Chinontla, San Pedro, Zacatlán, Aquitla, Tetela de Ocampo, Zapotitlán, Totomoxtla and Otlatlán.

Mr. Juárez remarked that distribution is carried out by means of helicopters belonging to the state government and to the Mexican Air Force, and by military and civilian vehicles. In some cases, aid is even delivered on foot or by using horses and donkeys, to make sure that support gets to the most inaccessible places.

In Huauchinango, he added, 639 tons of provisions, bottled water, medicines and clothes have been distributed by air and overland. Meanwhile, in Zacatlán aid has now totaled 939 tons and 825 kilograms.

Mr. Juárez commented that work will continue with the removal of rubble, the distribution of provisions, medical services, food, communications and transportation. Likewise, instruction is being given on hygiene and recreational activities.

It should be noted that President Zedillo initiated he National Health Care Week in the municipality of Zacatlán.

Later, in Ahuacatlán, President Ernesto Zedillo supervised aid work and remarked that, despite communication problems, support for victims will continue to arrive.

Dr. Zedillo also visited communities in the Northern Sierra region, where he spoke with residents from the most isolated villages who, so far, may not be reached overland. The cloud cover then dropped and fog prevented the helicopters from flying over the zone.

This work tour was also attended by the Secretaries of National Defense, Enrique Cervantes Aguirre, of Social Development, Carlos Jarque Uribe; of Health, Juan Ramón de la Fuente; of Communications and Transportation, Carlos Ruiz Sacristán; of Public Education, Miguel Limón Rojas; the Governor of Puebla, Melquiades Morales Flores; as well as by the Directors of the National Water Commission, Guillermo Guerrero Villalobos and of the Institute of Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE), Socorro Díaz Palacios.