A priest in the Mexican state of Puebla said parish and archdiocesan officials are attempting to assess the needs of isolated and impoverished pockets of eastern Mexico, which were hit hard with heavy rains and mudslides, leaving at least 40 dead and dozens of settlements incommunicado.
“At this point, nothing is getting in,” said Fr Jose Corona Ortega, parish priest at the Our Lady of Assumption parish in Huauchinango, some 120 miles east of Mexico City. “We have attended to the few people that have been able to come by (the parish), but the roads are closed.”
Fr Corona estimated attendance at Mass to be two-thirds of normal on 7th August, with parishioners donating and collecting food, household items and blankets. A group from the social ministry of the Archdiocese of Tulancingo would assess the situation as conditions allowed, he said.
“Many communities are inaccessible,” Fr Corona said.
On 8th August, Archbishop Victor Sanchez Espinosa of Puebla said that three parishes would be turned into shelters, and collections would be held for those displaced.
Tropical Storm Earl, which originally made landfall in Belize as a hurricane, dumped heavy rains on mountainous regions of Puebla and Veracruz. Puebla state officials – who said the storm brought more rain in a few days than an entire month in the normal wet summer – put the death toll at 29, though rescue workers the next day cited higher figures. Veracruz officials put the death toll at 11 in the state.
“Sadness in Mexico for the dozens of victims in Puebla and Veracruz due to the passing of Hurricane Earl,” Auxiliary Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola of Monterrey, secretary of the Mexican bishops’ conference, tweeted on 8th August. “Our prayers and solidarity.”
Picture: People in Huauchinango, Mexico, walk past the ruins of a mudslide on 7th August. Triggered by Tropical Storm Earl, the natural disaster killed 40 people. (CNS photo/Hugo Ortuno, EPA).