The American Red Cross has increased its contribution by $100,000 to relief efforts in Mexico, where record rainfall has devastated the country's southern states, causing deadly landslides and leaving some areas under water. This contribution raises the total American Red Cross support for the flood response to $200,000.
The Mexican government has already declared a state of disaster in Veracruz. Officials estimate as many as 100,000 families have been affected, and as the rain and flooding continues, the damage may worsen in some already inundated areas. In the southern state of Oaxaca many people are already living in makeshift tents on hillsides after landslides ravaged the area.
"In addition to the funding we have provided, the American Red Cross is ready to send supplies and personnel if needed," says Guillermo Garcia, the American Red Cross regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean. "We will provide the Mexican Red Cross with any support they need to respond to this disaster."
The Mexican Red Cross has opened emergency centers in all regions and in all of its 468 branches across the country. It is assisting with search and rescue operations, evacuations, setting up emergency shelters, and distributing food and hygiene kits. Throughout the affected states, Red Cross emergency responders are preparing to provide tool kits and kitchen and clean-up kits.
People with relatives in the area have contacted both the Mexican and American Red Cross, trying to find their loved ones. Both agencies are trying to help determine how and where residents of the affected areas are.
Record high seasonal rains combined with two major storms in the past two weeks have generated extensive flooding in Mexico's southern states, affecting both urban and rural areas. Hurricane Karl hit eastern Mexico in Veracruz on September 17, affecting 180 municipalities and 18,000 homes. Tropical Storm Matthew hit September 26 generating heavy rains and flooding. Additional heavy rains are forecasted, which may further affect flooded areas.