Report on the advances made to offset the emergency caused by the rains

from Government of Mexico
Published on 13 Oct 1999
Department of the Interior Report - Bulletin #412-99

On the instructions of President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, a delegation headed by the Secretary of the Interior, Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano, and comprising the Secretary of Social Development, Carlos Jarque Uribe, and the General Director of the National Water Commission, Guillermo Guerrero Villalobos, among other Federal officials, traveled to Tabasco. Accompanied by Governor Víctor Manuel Barceló, the delegation will fly over the Usumacinta, Carrizal, La Sierra and Grijalva rivers and their tributaries. The delegation will carry out air reconnaissance and visit the Angostura, Chicoasén, Malpaso and Peñitas dams, all of which are situated on the Grijalva River. They will also visit the areas of Tabasco affected by the rains, above all, the city of Villahermosa.

Later, Federal and state authorities attended an evaluation meeting on the state Civil Protection System.

As mentioned in earlier bulletins, the work of Federal Government departments and agencies will continue to respond to the fundamental needs of the affected population, such as the immediate evacuation of danger zones, the recovery of bodies and the reestablishment of the basic road infrastructure, so as to provide communities with provisions, drinking water and medical attention. Likewise, progress is being made with the rehabilitation of streets, houses and electrical systems, to allow communities to reactivate their normal economic and social activities and overcome the emergency as soon as possible.

Thus, yesterday, the Secretary of Social Development, in the presence of President Ernesto Zedillo, presented the Emergency Housing Program in Tecolutla, Veracruz; this program will focus on repairing an estimated 10,500 homes affected by the rains in this state. The Secretary announced that the Program will allow for the relocation and construction of new houses, the reconstruction of homes on their present sites, as well as the rehabilitation of buildings and basic services for beneficiaries with incomes of up to 2.5 times the minimum wage. In the case of families with higher incomes, the Department and the state government will analyze the implementation of credits through the corresponding agencies.

The Department of Social Development (SEDESOL) will ensure the timely delivery of provisions through its agencies. This department has distributed more than 1,600 tons of provisions in 153 municipalities of Puebla, Veracruz, Hidalgo and Tabasco.

The Health Sector has confirmed that, so far, there have been no reports of epidemics. The most frequent ailments requiring medical attention have been respiratory infections, diarrhea, skin complaints and parasites. Various auxiliary laboratories have been established to reinforce the existing infrastructure in state capitals, and to carefully evaluate cases that could potentially lead to the outbreak of epidemics.

Since damage to Health Sector facilities has been relatively minor, its agencies have been able to operate efficiently and some units have already been rehabilitated. In zones facing the risk of dengue or malaria, the disinfection of water sources has begun, and spraying and fumigation have also been used to help conserve the environment.

The Red Cross informed the System for Integral Family Development (DIF) that approximately 53 tons of provisions have been distributed in each of the affected states by means of vehicles of differing capacities; all of these operations have sought to make distribution completely equitable. In Mexico City, the Red Cross has more than 200 tons of clothes and food at its collection center, which are now ready for distribution. Likewise, it has an additional 18 collection centers in the affected states, which will increase available aid.


In line with the latest reports received from the respective state authorities, and for the purpose of keeping the general public informed, the General Civil Protection Coordination Section of the Department of the Interior will provide information containing official figures on the situation prevailing until 12:00 today. It should be noted that, due to the nature of these events, all figures are of a preliminary nature.

Affected Municipalities
Persons Killed
Temporary Shelters
People received at Shelters


The Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that, despite the adverse conditions affecting approximately 240,000 hectares and 90,000 producers, most of these are engaged in the production of basic grains. Since these crops are sown during the Spring-Summer cycle on an area of approximately 12 million hectares, this situation does not represent a significant production risk and favorable rain distribution has been reported in other areas of the country. Support will nonetheless be given to producers.

Yesterday, the Secretary of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fishery sent two teams with 20 top level specialists in natural disasters to Veracruz and Puebla. These teams are equipped with radio, repeaters, geo-positional and other equipment, and will lend support to decision-making processes in the areas of rescue, recovery, evacuation, the identification of high-risk zones and the detection of possible crisis situations.

With 2,000 people and more than 300 vehicles, the National Water Commission is supplying a daily average of more than 300,000 liters of bottled water. These groups are also applying basic sanitation measures in urban neighborhoods and rural communities, while evaluating and repairing damaged hydraulic infrastructure.

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has announced that the core of its national electricity system has not been damaged (generating stations and dams are in good condition). Various transmission lines were damaged, but are now under repair.


During the last 24 hours, Mexican Army personnel used overland and air links to distribute 7,000 liters of drinking water, more than seven tons of medicines and 34,000 kilograms of provisions to 32 affected communities near Xicotepec and Tezuitlán; they also brought more than 38,000 portions of hot food to shelters. The CFE has normalized the electricity service in 129 communities to benefit more than 21,000 users. Although repair work has been centered on Cuetzalan and Xochitlán, damage has also been repaired in 81 nearby communities. Likewise, two provisional towers are currently under construction to reinstall a higher capacity service on the Tezuitlán-Margaritas line.

Blockages are still affecting two federal highways in this state. The Department of Communications and Transportation has been working intensely to reopen a 32 kilometer stretch of the Altotonga-Tlapacoyan highway to traffic. Likewise, the Gutiérrez Zamora-Casitas section of the Poza Rica-Veracruz highway, more specifically, the 20 kilometers between La Guadalupe and Casitas, should be reopened in the course of the next four days.

In coordination with the National Water Commission, the Department of National Defense is operating an air bridge from Mexico City. This mechanism will be used to transport 100,000 liters of drinking water received at Military Air Base No. 1 to the distribution center located at Poza Rica airport. During the last 24 hours, eleven flights were made by five aircraft of the Mexican Air Force, and included the transportation of 26 tons of provisions and medicines. At the same time, 58 air operations were made by helicopter from Poza Rica to distribute more than 11,000 liters of drinking water and 26 tons of provisions to 22 affected communities. Likewise, more than 26,000 liters of drinking water were sent overland to Minatitlán.

The Mexican Navy has reported that it is continuing its support to various communities by means of four aircraft and ten helicopters. Thus, it has transported more than 43 tons of food, more than six tons of other provisions, almost six tons of medicines and approximately 3,000 liters of drinking water to different state communities like Poza Rica, Casitas and Tecolutla. Yesterday, the vessel Guerrero arrived in Tuxpan with more than 46,000 liters of drinking water, and the tug Kukulkan reached Casitas with almost 98 tons of provisions.

The CFE announced that 99% of the electricity service has been reestablished in Poza Rica, and an 80% level has been attained in Gutiérrez Zamora. Roads were repaired in Tecolutla and electricity is being supplied to community centers by means of mobile units.

During the last 24 hours, the Department of National Defense distributed more than 36,000 liters of drinking water and 4,000 packages of provisions in communities near Tulancingo and Metztitlán.

The Department of the Navy collaborated by providing 102 elements to unload 31 tons of provisions and water at collection centers in Metztitlán. Continued support was also given for the transportation of local inhabitants and food distribution.

In accordance with reports issued by the Department of Communications and Transportation, damage has not prevented traffic circulation on the state highway network. An alternative route, the Northwestern Villahermosa Ringroad, has been used due to the problems undergone within the urban zone. Since there is no longer water at kilometer 68 of the El Suspiro-Tenosique highway, the asphalt is now being repaired.

The Department of National Defense currently has 1,842 elements in this state who, over the last 24 hours, have been reinforced by an additional 725 elements equipped with tools, ten community kitchens, five batches of sanitary equipment and five motorboats.

During a visit to the state, the Secretary of Public Education commented that the Federation will provide all necessary support to offset the damage undergone by 451 schools in 15 state municipalities. A total of 72 million pesos will be allocated to reestablish educational services by repairing infrastructure and replacing school materials and text books.

The CFE has reported that, due to flooding, the electricity service is still suspended in certain communities for security reasons and at the petition of local residents.


The National Meteorological Service has reported that the arrival of tropical air systems from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico will produce electrical storms and intense rain in Tabasco and Veracruz; moderate rain is expected in Puebla, and light rain in Hidalgo.