Disasters & Accidents

Victims of Hurricane Agatha await help from Mexican gov’t

By Jose de Jesus Cortes

Santa Maria Huatulco, Mexico, Jun 11 (EFE).- Decals reading Vivienda Censada (Residence Surveyed) have come to embody the hopes of families who lost everything when Hurricane Agatha slammed the Pacific coast of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca at the end of last month.

Matias Reyes, a coffee grower in Pluma Hidalgo points out to Efe the decal on what remains of his family’s modest dwelling and says that he is confident the assistance promised by the survey team who documented the damage will materialize.

“They said that we have to wait … three to four weeks to see to what extent they can support us,” he says.

The family’s home, made of wood and sheets of metal, was crushed when the rains from Agatha – up to 9.45 inches (240 mm) in 24 hours – caused a mudslide on the hill overlooking the residence.

“We took what we could,” Matias’ wife, Alejandra, says, despairing that practically all of her daughters’ clothing was buried in the mud.

Though the road linking Pluma Hidalgo to Santa Maria Huatulco is open, it remains strewn with fallen trees and boulders and only one lane is passable.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that he would be in Pluma Hidalgo on Friday and Jose Garcia, a 55-year-old coffee grower in the highland village of San Pedro Pochutla, decided he wanted to share his story with Mexico’s head of state.

Jose, daughter Flor – who was bit by a snake en route – and her husband walked five hours to reach a town where vehicles were standing by to ferry people to the president’s meeting with coffee growers.

But they never made it to Pluma Hidalgo and had to settle for delivering their request for help to municipal authorities in Pochutla.

The Oaxaca state government’s preliminary damage estimate lists 28,000 homes as totally or partly destroyed and the loss of 40,000 hectares (98,765 acres) of papaya and 80,000 hectares of coffee.

Agatha, the first storm of the 2022 Pacific hurricane season, made landfall in Oaxaca on May 30 as a Category 2 cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 169 km/h (105 mph).

Lopez Obrador said Friday that he will present next week a plan to rebuild the 31 municipalities affected by Agatha, which left nine people dead. EFE


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