The 80 Person Death Toll Nobody is Talking About
Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula this week, bringing with them an onslaught of rain and wind that has led to 80 deaths and thousands of people being trapped without electricity, running water, or food. To make matters worse, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System reports that more rain and wind could continue throughout the week with Manuel making a return as a tropical cyclone. They are estimating that it will have a "medium humanitarian impact." While the country of Mexico has worked hard to help those harmed by the natural disaster, the international community has been silent. This is unacceptable, and international aid should be sent to those affected immediately.
Acapulco's international airport is still flooded, but luckily the airstrips were dry enough to allow over 5,000 people to fly out on Wednesday. Tens of thousands more are still trying to evacuate. AeroMexico and InterJet are helping the rescue operations by running free flights and setting up collection centers for supplies. Passengers with children, elderly members, or medical needs are being prioritized for boarding.
In an instance of commercial interests being protected, the government has worked to protect supermarkets and convenience stores to bar looters from taking inventory. It is not compensating store owners for goods taken during the emergency.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is reaching out to the local hotels to provide free accommodations for stranded tourists. In addition, Secretary of Tourism for the State of Guerrero Javier Aluni announced that hotel costs would be paid for by the state for Sept. 16and 17.
No foreign aid is currently being issued, but the Mexican government is running a steady domestic aid operation. Military aircraft are evacuating people from military bases. The government is also attempting to airlift food and supplies, but the weather conditions are causing the operations to be repeatedly interrupted. They have set up shelters and are sending rescue boats to help find stranded people.
The death toll is likely to rise as reports of mudslides and more rain keep coming in, and there is little anyone can do until the weather calms down. Sites like this have been created to help people search for friends and family members potentially in danger.