In recent days, the peoples of southeastern Mexico have suffered the effects of intense rains provoked by the tropical storm Matthew. These effects have been most felt in the state of Chiapas, which, having received 2000 mm3 of rains during the present year, has experienced the highest level of rain of all other states of the Mexican Republic.
According to the Institute for Civil Protection (IPC), as of 28 September, Matthew’s rains have affected 1,013 homes in 11 municipalities of the state of Chiapas. An article in the Mexico-City based La Jornada claims that, as of 27 September, 200 homes had been flooded by the overflowing of the Chulhá river in Yajalón, 150 flooded in Chilón, and another 350 affected by the flooding of the Amarillo river in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. In total, the IPC estimates that 4,500 persons have been displaced in Chiapas by the effects of the tropical storm. The flooding caused electricity-cuts in a third of the city of Yajalón last week, and also damaged the water-provision service in San Cristóbal, leaving several neighborhoods without water until 30 September. The other municipalities of Chiapas strongly affected by flooding have been San Juan Cancuc, Salto de Agua, Tumbalá, Comitán, Ocosingo, Jiquipilas, Simojovel, and Soyalo. Moreover, landslides provoked by the rains have damaged roads in Yajalón, Chilón, Playas de Catazaja, Palenque, Comitán, La Concordia, La Trinitaria, Maravilla Tenejapa, Pichucalco, Ocozocoautla, Pantelhó, Sitalá, Simovojel, Pueblo Nuevo, and Jitotol. Several communities far from the principal municipalities of the state have been cut-off by Matthew; it seems that in several such communities there is a great need for humanitarian aid.
In total, the state government of Chiapas estimates that 25 people have lost their lives due to the recent metereological phenomena seen in the state. Some 16 indigenous Zoques died in Reforma y Planada, municipality of Amatán, when a landslide took place there on Thursday, while another landslide left three dead in Nueva Colombia, municipality of Ángel Albino Corzo, on Wednesday. Residents and clerics of Yajalón have indicated that there still remain 30 disappeared from floods there.
In light of disasters brought about by Matthew, Juan Sabines Guerrero, governor of the state, has visited several affected communities and have committed to provide resources to the affected. A public program that temporarily gives employment to citizens who involve themselves in remediation and reconstruction projects has been activated. With regard to the landslides experienced in the state–it has been estimated that some 180 have taken place in total since the onset of the heavy rains–Sabines Guerrero has emphasized that the deforestation of hillsides, promoted by campesinos cultivating maize, holds some responsibility.
For more information (in Spanish):
The number of dead increases (Cuarto Poder, 1 October)
Landslide leaves 16 dead (Cuarto Poder, 30 September)
Landslide in Chiapas takes the lives of at least 19 people (La Jornada, 30 September)
At least 25 are buried (Expreso Chiapas, 1 October)
The Chiapas government will grant pensions to the residents of 5 killed by rains (La Jornada, 29 September)
7 killed by Matthew in Chiapas; more than a thousand homes are damaged (La Jornada, 28 September)
Matthew‘s rains leave 8 dead in five states (La Jornada, 27 September)