For a week in late September, steady rain in the southern states of Mexico created mudslides and floods, affecting communities and farms in Oaxaca, Chiapas and surrounding southern states. Fortunately early reports overestimated the number of people killed in the disaster in Oaxaca.
Grassroots International supports several organizations in the region, including: Mixe Peoples’ Services (SER Mixe); Center to Support the Popular Movement in Oaxaca; The Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca; and Oaxaca State Coffee Producers Network. Recently we spoke with Sofia Robles from Ser Mixe about the damages caused by the mudslides and the community’s response. “Many people will need to relocate, so the community is organized in sub-committees to provide the needed services and guarantee the safe relocation,” she told us. According to a recent report from UPI (October 10, 2010), “More than 1 million people need help because they live in Mexican regions still underwater, officials said. Laura Gurza, general coordinator of Civil Protection of the Interior Ministry, said in an interview with El Universal that the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Chiapas are in a state of crisis.” Throughout the region, people are still cleaning up and attempting to clear roads blocked by debris. Some families are planning to build temporary shelter while they look for a safer area. Ser Mixe is coordinating brigades of volunteers to help communities to cope with the disaster. One of the brigades works to provide medical and psychological (clinic) support to families. Ser Mixe pays for transportation and meals and coordinates lodging in the community for other supportive organizations.