Llano de Tepehuaje, Metlatónoc municipality. Photo @Tlachinollan
In the region of the Mountain, thousands of indigenous persons have abandoned at least 48 communities due to hazards and the loss of 80% of the crops that were devastated by the severe rainsfalls brought by tropical storm Manuel, noted Javier Guerrero, subsecretary for Social Development. During a meeting carried out in the Catholic House, which has become a shelter of sorts in Tlapa de Comonfort for more than 160 displaced indigenous persons, Guerrero reported that the federal highways Tlapa-Marquelia and Tlapa-Metlatónoc, the two principal routes that connect the poorest municipalities of the country, have been destroyed. The residents of different communities such as Tilapa and Santa Cruz del Rincón report that the highway has simply disappeared.
A 30 September communique from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights mentions that “in accordance with the Secretary for Social Development (SEDESOL), there are 48 communities that continue to lack access by aerial and terrestrial routes, though this statistic could increase considering that in the municipalities of Acatepec, Metlatónoc, and Cochoapa it is practically impossible to maintain constant communication. Attention by means of air is insufficient and the criteria for the definition of routes for helicopters lack transparency.” Of the 700 indigenous communities located in the Mountain region of Guerrero, to date there has been had contact with only about 100, claims Tlachinollan. The official statistics speak of 33 dead, according to the report released on 26 September by Civil Protection, but the testimonies collected by Tlachinollan mention at least 42 dead, without taking into account the disappeared.
On 23 September, indigenous peoples of the Mountain formed the Council of Authorities Affected by the Storm, which will be the voice of the people. Abel Barrera, director of Tlachinollan, indicates that the members of the Council will insist that they not be excluded from decision-making processes. In his view, what usually happens is that the mayors meet behind closed doors with the Army and State authorities and make decisions behind the backs of the displaced, with the result that aid and resources are mobilized without consulting local residents.
For more information (in Spanish):
En la Montaña, miles de desplazados y 80% de cultivos arrasados: Sedesol (Proceso, 29 de septiembre de 2013)
Crece el aislamiento en comunidades de la Montaña (La Jornada, 29 de septiembre de 2013)
Después del diluvio (La Jornada, 30 de septiembre de 2013)
Continúa crisis humanitaria en La Montaña (Tlachinollan, 30 de septiembre de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Guerrero: Deaths and victims of tropical storm Manuel (4 October 2013)