Mexico: Post-hurricane flooding Appeal No. 22/03


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In Brief



The 2003 Atlantic hurricane season has hit Mexico particularly hard with three mid-size storms or hurricanes (Larry, Olaf and Nera) all impacting both east and west coasts of Mexico over the past two months. While no single event has been of catastrophic dimensions, the combined effect has resulted in the worst flooding in many years over a wide swath of Mexico's states. The Mexican Red Cross (MRC) has been delivering emergency relief since the beginning of the floods seven weeks ago. Initial Red Cross external assistance was provided by the American Red Cross (for details see However, the cumulative effect of continuing rainfall, a threatening storm (Patricia) in the Pacific, and two months remaining in the hurricane season, have resulted in a longer than anticipated length to this current relief operation. Because the size and scope of the needs have continued to rise, this emergency appeal is being launched upon the request of the MRC to provide continued support in the form of basic non-food items and other supplies to assist those affected by the floods (primarily from indigenous farming communities) to return home.

The situation

One of the heaviest rainy seasons in years caused heavy flooding in September in cities and states throughout Mexico. Since October, 188 municipalities in 14 states have declared disasters that are still in effect as of today:

Municipalities affected
Nuevo Leon
Baja California Sur
Guanajuato -

While there were no reported deaths, severe damage occurred to homes, crops and roads in the states of Chiapas, Guanajuato, and Jalisco. More than 12 thousand houses in Jalisco, and 500 in the community of Tototlan, were damaged by the floods. In Guanajuato, more than 15 thousand people were affected by the flooding, including particularly heavy damage in the communities of San Javier, Reforma, 1910, Nuevo México, Las Estancias and Los Sauces. In Nayarit, on the west coast of Mexico, the municipalities of San Blas and Santiago Ixcuntla were cut off from the rest of the country due to the severe weather, affecting more than 5,000 people. In Mexico State, three municipalities and some 650 houses were seriously damaged. In Chiapas State, 39,000 persons and 9,000 houses were affected by flooding. Although most people are now returning to their homes from temporary shelters, there are still significant outstanding needs.

The MRC, in coordination with the Government and local authorities, responded rapidly to each storm and continues to lead the ongoing relief operation. The society has been very active in responding to the needs, delivering over 400,000 kilos of humanitarian aid from its own resources and government supplies to date. The assistance in the form of basic food items, drinking water and clothing was and still is being delivered by air, land and water. The MRC is a well-prepared national society with a strong response and logistics capacity, and a substantial countrywide network o t deliver in-kind donations. In addition the American Red Cross support has continued in those states where they assisted the MRC. Despite this, the MRC has now requested the assistance of the International Federation to provide support to fill in gaps from the assistance already provided by the government and other agencies. The MRC, with Federation support, intends to continue to implement preparedness programmes and community education initiatives which are complementary to this relief operation. Where necessary on-site response and preparedness training of MRC staff and volunteers at the branch level will be carried out as part of this relief appeal.

The needs

Immediate needs

The immediate needs are for basic household items (mattresses, kitchen cleaning and hygiene materials, and school supplies) to assist the affected population to return to normal living conditions. CHF 80,000 has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to start the activities planned.

Beneficiary selection

Some 38,750 people (approximately 7,750 families) in 4 states will benefit from this operation. The selection of the communities was made in conjunction with local authorities and members of the MRC headquarters and the r e spective state branches. The selected communities are primarily indigenous farming families (among the most vulnerable) and are relatively accessible; an important consideration given the resources available. The capacity of the MRC to implement the operation was a key factor in arriving at t he number of communities to be included in the operation.


The MRC has been coordinating with local and state government agencies involved in the relief effort including DIF, Civil Defense, and local municipalities. All decisions relating to planning and activities are made in conjunction with these government bodies. In addition, the MRC will attend inter-nstituti onal meetings with representatives from the other operational agencies involved in order to enhance co-ordination, avoid duplication and maximize existing resources.

The ICRC currently maintains an office in Mexico City, and a field presence in Chiapas. The Spanish and German Red Cross Societies are implementing various projects in Chiapas. There has already been one coordination meeting held on October 17 in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas State, with the Federation and three partners of the Movement. In Nayarit, Jalisco and Guanajuato, the American Red Cross has already started implementing activities related to (and inclusive to) this appeal. Shared logistics, purchasing and monitoring activities are taking place.

The proposed operation

Objectives, activities planned, and expected results

The operation will focus on the immediate delivery of humanitarian assis tance in the form of specifically targeted e r lief items to selected beneficiaries pending their return to their homes. The operation, developed in close coordination with the MRC and local authorities, will provide support to 7,750 families living in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanajuato and Chiapas. The operation, including all reporting, will last 3 months and be completed by 1 February, 2004. The overall co-ordination of the project will be undertaken by the MRC, and staff and volunteers from the corresponding branches will implement activities. There will also be a Federation presence in the form of a regional intervention team (RIT) or a delegate to support the implementation and reporting of the project. The American Red Cross and other donor national societies are providing support for specific activities and areas of this appeal.

Emergency relief (food and non-food)

Objective: To provide relief items to 7,750 families for a period of 2 months.

Activities to meet this objective include:

  • Delivery of 7,750 relief kits (combined kitchen set, hygiene kit and household items) to 5,000 families in the most affected areas of Nayarit, Jalisco and Guanajuato (where the American Red Cross is coordinating distribution), and another 2,750 families in Chiapas.

  • Delivery of 5,500 mattresses with bed sheets (2 per family) to 2,750 families in Chiapas.

Capacity of the National Society, and capacity building within this appeal

The MRC was founded in 1910. Its headquarters is located in Mexico City. There are 449 departmental branches with a total of 24,444 active volunteers and 5,796 paid staff. The MRC has a long history of working in disasters, and has also had experience in working with the ICRC. Both the MRC and the local emergency authorities will benefit from the operation through improving disaster response systems, protocols, procedures and preparedness activities. MRC national headquarters and local chapter staff, with Federation support, will carry out a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) process, focusing primarily but not exclusively on the affected areas to ensure all the most vulnerable populations needs are covered. Any additional needs that may require further amendments to this appeal will be reflected in Operations Updates.

Capacity of the Federation

The MRC is responsible for managing this operation, in coordination with the Federation's Panama Regional Delegation and trough the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU). The Federation will coordinate the international support.Du e to the specific nature of the operation, a delegate will be required in order to ensure that the operation is implemented in a timely and efficient manner, including all reporting and financial controls.

Monitoring and evaluation

The primary responsibility for monitoring and evaluation is with the MRC, supported by the Federation's Central American and Caribbean Regional Delegation based in Panama City, Panama, in collaboration with PADRU.

Budget summary

See Annex 1 for details.

For further information please contact:

Mexican Red Cross
Isaac Oxenhaut, Disaster Coordinator
Tel.: (5255) 5395 5605 / 5395 5605 Fax: (5255) 5395 2306

Panama Regional Delegation
Gilberto Guevara, Head of Delegation
Tel.: (507) 317 1300 Fax: (507) 317 1304

Panama Disaster Response Unit (PADRU)
Nelson Castaño, Head of PADRU
Tel.: (507) 316 1001 Fax: (507) 316 1082

Federation Secretariat - Geneva
- Disaster Management and Coordination (DMC): Head of Operations; Iain Logan; email: phone +41.22.730.4984
- Regional Department; Luis Luna, Regional Officer for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean; Tel.: 41 22 730 42 74; Fax: 41 22 733 0395; email:

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

Abbas Gullet,

Markku Niskala,
Acting Secretary General,
Disaster Management and Coordination

(in pdf* format - 6.23 KB)

MAP - Mexico: Floods - Situation map