Report on the damages rains and earthquake of 30 September in Oaxaca State

from Caritas
Published on 09 Oct 1999
Caritas Mexicana
Episcopal Commission for the Social Pastoral
Details of the Situation

Rains that for the past five days have been drenching six states of the Mexican Republic, five of which are in a critical condition, have provoked grave damage with a great number of deaths, displaced and injured.

TROPICAL STORM 21 has been the cause of the tragedy and numerous communities have been isolated and inundated by the overflowing of rivers and erosions; roads have been destroyed and large tracts of cultivated land ruined.

In all the affected states there is a shortage of drinking water, lack of health services, and lack of food.

The Mexican army has launched PLAN DN-III in the most affected areas of Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Hidalgo, and Tabasco. There is also a state of emergency in Chiapas, Michoacan, and Jalisco and with less intensity in the State of Mexico, Nayarit, Guerrero, Morelos, San Luis Potosi, Quintana Roó, Campeche, Tlaxcala, Yucatan and D.F.

Statistics of the tragedy:


  • Dams with unprecedented water levels: four dams have been monitored in Chiapas: Chicoasen, Malpaso, Angostura and Peñitas
  • Closing down of 15 highways in the States of Puebla, Veracruz, Hidalgo and Oaxaca
  • Mexico Telecommunications are evaluating the state of the network in the most affected states: Puebla, Veracruz, Tabasco, Hidalgo and Chiapas
  • 160 municipal districts affected
  • According to newspaper reports, more than 500 dead in 160 municipalities of Tabasco, Veracruz, Hidalgo, Puebla and Oaxaca (five of the six states most affected)
  • 925 reported missing
  • More than 500.000 injured
  • 38.840 refugees
  • 819 communities affected
  • More than 265.000 hectares of cultivated land damaged


  • Is the most affected
    Veracruz has been declared a disaster zone by the Government after four days of intense rain.
    89 reported dead.
    75.735 injured, 23.150 homeless and 452 communities and colonies flooded; 76 municipalities affected, 22 tracts of highway flooded, 7 bridges damaged and 13 rivers overflowing.
  • The rural area is without electricity, affecting 77.123 inhabitants.
  • Tajin, an archeological zone of great importance has been damaged.
  • Affected municipalities: Papantla, Tecolutla, Gutierrez Zamora, Espinal, Zococolco de Hidalgo, Coxquihui, Chumatlan, Coyutla, Mectalan, Filomeno Mata and Progress de Zaragoza.
  • Poza Rica: 70% of the city is without electricity.
  • Four thousand people are accomodated in 11 lodgings set up in the city. As estimated by the municipal government, there are 3.335 injured, coming from villages close to Poza Rica.
  • Cazones: 25.000 injured and 38 communities affected, 15 have been partly destroyed.
  • Papantla: approximate population: 600.000 inhabitants, of whom 300.000 injured
  • 139 communities settled along the cost and on riverbanks
  • Two villages erased. Martinica and Tres Naciones
  • Barra de Cazones: 14 dead
  • Alamo : one dead
  • Tuxpan: one dead, 800 missing.
  • The second most affected state.
  • Destruction in in 47 municipalities
  • 166 dead, but the number could rise to 200
  • 125 missing
  • 30.000 injured
  • 116 lodgings giving shelter to 21.342 inhabitants
  • 9 municipalities isolated
  • The aid that was destined to arrive by air to the affected communities of Puebla have run into difficulties due to weather conditions and the thick mist which obstructs flight and erosion on land that make highways impassable.
  • Teziutlan : 37 corpses have been extracted, though the total deaths in the area number 150
  • Pantepec: an avalanche of mud covered the Maxim lodgings where 60 persons are sheltering.
  • Third most affected state
  • 40 Muncipalities affected
  • 14 reported dead
  • 52.801 affected
  • 75 lodgings provide shelter to 8.342 persons
  • The Hidalgo government reports that 37.000 cultivated hectares have been ruined, 168 rural roads damaged., 36 state highways with damages amounting to 38 million pesos
  • 8.858 hectares of cultivated land damaged
  • The State Health Department has declared four high risk zones urgently needing epidemics prevention: Pachuca, Meztitlan, Tepchua and Tulancingo
  • Tulancingo: the whole city is in a state of emergency: 5000 persons injured, 19 colonies flooded with water rising to a level of 2 metres
  • 15 municipalities report damages without deaths, but with 20.345 affected and 7.348 refugees in 97 lodgings
  • 7 dams have overflowed, 223 communities affected
  • Villahermosa 90.955 injured, 22 lodgings set up.
  • In the entire state : 85.000 injured
  • 9 dead
    6 reported dead
    800 families have been displaced in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
    300 families cut off from the municipal headquarters in San Francisco del Mar and in San Francisco Ixhuatan

176 municipalities damaged, of which 30 isolated overland, 13.294 houses damaged, 1222 injured, 1300 schools affected, 25 dead, 4.500 injured in the zone of the Isthmus


  • 12 municipalities affected
  • 3 highways destroyed
  • The southern coastal zone has been declared a disaster zone
  • 144 communities affected
  • 4 dams at their maximum containing level
  • More than 61.000 injured
  • 8 municipalities affected
  • 5.000 injured
  • 60% of the profitable activity subject to serious damage.