Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

News :: Civil & Human Rights : Environment & Food : Poverty & Urban Development

hurricane stan

Dear folks-

Hurricane Stan has completely devastated southern mexico and Central America. The gross similarities between Stan and Katrina are obvious: poor people experiencing the tragic effects and government incompetence only endangering the people more.

I have many friends missing and in danger there. To my people out there: You're in my thoughts and prayers! I couldn't find much information in English, so I investigated the Mexican daily La Jornada to get the low down. I wrote this short summary. Please post it to your proper IMC's or organization web sites, if I already haven't.

strength and heart-
A category one hurricane and its aftermath delivered a shuddering blow to southern Mexico and Central America earlier this week. Hurricane Stan’s devastating wake has left millions of people homeless, hundreds of towns and villages cut off from contact and rescue services, and a region bulldozed by torrential landslides.

El Salvador and Guatemala bore the brunt of Stan’s thrashing winds with Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico’s Tehuantepec Isthmus experiencing situations of extreme emergency. Two hundred deaths have been attributed to Stan with numbers expected to rise. Eight hundred people are missing in the small Guatemalan town of Santiago Atitlan after a landslide. Tapachula, on the Mexico-Guatemala border, lost more than 2,600 homes to a landslide’s sweep.

A weak hurricane, Stan was downgraded to a tropical storm after it struck the southern Mexican Gulf coast last Saturday and traveled south. Heavy rains spawned by the storm continued as the deforested, mountainous area was flooded and landslides leveled neighborhoods. Roads are impassable and bridges destroyed. Government relief and rescue efforts have been stifled because of inaccessibility.

The Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada reported that the four rivers running through Chiapas have overflowed and destroyed 155 bridges. At least 200,000 people are displaced on the Chiapan coast; 120,000 are homeless in Veracruz. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated while hundreds of thousands more are stranded.

Villages and some towns are incommunicado with inundated roads and cut down phone lines leaving millions of people dangerously isolated. Reports of panic and fear are widespread with people scrambling to protect what little they have left, buy supplies, locate lost loved ones and find safety. Food and gasoline shortages and undrinkable water and government incompetence add to the situation’s desperate status.

Like the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the people affected by Hurricane Stan are poor and disenfranchised. The region’s majority indigenous population of fifty million people live a threatened existence already. Victims of economic and military war, the people take one blow after another.

The heavy rains are expected to continue for another week. Rich forests heavily lumbered the past twenty years have not been able to hold ground in place to prevent landslides. As the situation worsens, this will be the third large-scale disaster wrought by a hurricane, a by-product of global warming, in the span of a month.

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