Well, I hope the governor is good and embarrased after overstating the damage in Oaxaca and drawing intense international media attention. He has now issued a statement saying that 11 people are missing, no confirmed dead and 3-4 houses buried. Shhiishh!
Oaxaca has been inundated with two feet of rain in the last two weeks with record rainfalls for a month before that. The New York Times carried this report this morning:
A hillside collapsed onto a village in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca early Tuesday, burying houses in mud and stones and trapping hundreds of people as they slept, state authorities said.
As many as 300 houses in the village of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec may have been buried in the landslide, said the state governor, Ulises Ruiz.
Rescue workers trying to reach the village with earth-moving equipment have been hampered by blocked roads in the remote area, which has been pounded by incessant rains. “We hope to reach in time to rescue those families who were buried by the hill,” Mr. Ruiz told Mexican television.
This is about 50 miles from Oaxaca City where I live. And the latest news report on CBC says they couldn’t even land one helicopter there today (!!)
People in Oaxaca are forming help centers and are asking for donations. This appeared in the Oaxaca group on couchsurfing:
Up to us a lot more responsibility now with the tragedy that has befallen the people of Tlahuitoltepec, Mixe. They can overcome this sadness is in large part on all of us! Let’s help these people with great history, traditions and poverty.
In my facebook profile for me, Rodrigo Guzman, I have the account number to which they can make donations, so you can donate nonperishable food, bottled water, beans, rice, sugar, canned goods, can opener, antiviral drugs, clothes in good condition, covers and mattresses in any of the collection centers that are opening throughout the state.
The other tragedy of the moment has to do with the Trique indigenous communities in the Mixteca region north of Oaxaca City.
Three years ago, the indigenous Trique municipality of San Juan Copala, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, declared itself autonomous from the government. Since that time they have faced severe repression, with community members being kidnapped, raped and assassinated by two state-backed paramilitary groups in an attempt to destroy the autonomous project. Two caravans bringing food and water to the town were driven back with several people murdered…one a Finnish human rights worker. The people have been driven out of their town and taken over by Oaxaca government allies.
Join Friends of Brad Will along with guests from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, to learn more about San Juan Copala, including a short documentary and video-message from residents of the autonomous municipality.
Friends of Brad Will is a national network working for justice for Brad Will, an American independent journalist murdered by state paramilitaries in Oaxaca in 2006.
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, a bridge to the Oaxaca airport has collapsed caused people to have to walk in and out.
Wish me luck driving down in mid-October.