Disasters & Accidents

Indigenous community in southern Mexico suffering from heat wave, severe drought

Zinacantan, Mexico, Jun 26 (EFE).- An indigenous community in the highlands of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas is currently trying to cope with the drying up of its water resources amid a severe drought triggered by the El Niño weather phenomenon and climate change.

Droughts have recently affected 65 percent of that state comprising 124 municipalities, according to Yendi Alvarez Chacon, head of hydrometeorology at the local office of the National Water Commission (Conagua).

“We’re having less rain than usual. From January to June, it’s been 36 percent below average. Starting in March, a decrease in precipitation was observed, and now in the month of June we’re at 75 percent below the monthly average,” she said in remarks to the media, adding that the drought conditions are expected to continue.

Guadalupe Xu’kun, a Tzotzil Maya community that is part of the Zinacantan municipality and is devoted to corn farming and ranching, has now gone several days without access to the water it needs for people’s daily consumption and for growing crops.

The prolonged drought and intense sun also have caused their plants to burn, local residents told Efe.

“It hasn’t rained. It hasn’t rained at all. We’re now suffering from thirst. There’s no water,” local resident Ernesto Hernandez told Efe.

Drought conditions are now widespread in Mexico, with Conagua saying that two-thirds of the country’s regions are affected.

“We’ve already planted (our seeds), but they’ve already dried up because of the heat. The heat is really strong,” said Luvia Gutierrez Sanchez, a housewife and mother of five children under the age of 12.

Amid desperation and worry, the population has taken to social media to alert authorities to the need to supply them with water until their natural sources recover.

“Misfortune has arrived. The truth is that right now there’s nothing in the well … day and night we’re waiting,” Gabino Perez Hernandez, an inhabitant of Guadalupe Xu’kun, told Efe.

Responding to that call for help was the family of Perez Hernandez, which in a humanitarian relief action supplied that drought-stricken community with more than 12,000 liters of water. EFE


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