You can't prevent natural disasters. But can you be prepared for them? Sure you can. You might not be able to avoid all the damages, but if people are more prepared and know what to do in a case of natural disaster, its consequences can be at least less disastrous.
In Mexico, the hurricane season takes place between June and November every year. During these months, the coastal regions, including the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero are most vulnerable to suffer from natural disasters. In addition to storms and hurricanes, the coast of Guerrero and Oaxaca is also vulnerable to earthquakes. This is why it is important to not only attend the consequences of disasters, but also train the communities to be more prepared to the catastrophes.
As Yolanda from Cuajiniquilapa commented to us: “We think it is important that people learn to prevent things when there is a catastrophe… What they can do to prevent diseases, for example. People have already lost so much, learning to manage all these emotions would also be important.”
To answer to these needs, Yo quiero Yo puedo (IMIFAP) has developed educational materials on what to do in case of natural disasters. The materials are brief and easy to read, with simple and concrete instructions in themes like: first aid; personal hygiene and hygiene in the house; taking care of the babies in a case of a disaster; how to store prepare food and water in order to avoid diseases; team work and management of emotions. There are materials for both adults and children, as it is important that children learn the basic instructions too. This way, they can participate in the activities to help their families and communities, be less vulnerable in case of losing family members and learn to be responsible citizens when they grow up.
The educational materials are important, but in our opinion, they can be more effective if they are used as part of a training process. The communities we work with, have expressed their interest in participating in workshops on these themes. This is why Yo quiero Yo puedo (IMIFAP) has also developed a 10-hour course for the communities. We will start implementing with three courses, two in Guerrero and one in Oaxaca during September. I’ll keep you posted!
Thank you for continuing to help the marginalized communities of Guerrero and Oaxaca!
Yo quiero Yo puedo (IMIFAP) has continued the work with the floods victims of Guerrero and Oaxaca. In addition o addressing the problems caused by tghe floods, we are starting to continue our earlier activities witht the community.
This time, we want to share a testimony of one the flood victims, Edith:
“My name is Edith and I’m forty years old. I’m from the community of Comaltepec in Guerrero. Yo quiero Yo puedo (IMIFAP) has come here to give us workshops, first the “I want to, I can” workshops. We have learned that if we want something, if we put our mind on something, we can be successful. We have learned (in their workshops) that we can achieve whatever we want. Principally it has been for the personal improvement, and from there… First we have to personally improve (our lives), and after that we can help and support our relatives, our children, we can guide them to take the best way. They (IMIFAP) have also given us (workshops) about community banks, where we can save and (with the savings) create our own income sources and sources of employment. There we will get to know each other better, as compañeras and can lend each other money from our own bank, first to one, then to the other and so on… At the moment we don’t have a community bank. We were working on that, to create our own community bank, when the floods came. That has held us off, because we have had to dedicate ourselves to the most important things, to our lives, how to survive, to deal with this thing that happened to us.
The things (the floods) got really ugly here. Especially for the people who live outside of the community, near the riverbanks. It got ugly because the river broke down and there were three currents. In this side, that is my area, there were people who got trapped in the fields, on the trees, they couldn’t get of the trees. They had to stay there for one night and one day, and it was only one day after they could be rescued, because the current was very strong. You could not pass there. They tried, but the current damaged things and it was impossible to pass until the other day. And many people lost their houses, the water damaged their houses, made holes in them and damaged them from below… the majority of the people lost it all… clothes, dishes, personal things, furniture… they didn’t have much things and they lost them all. The water took it all. It was very hard.
We want to thank you, I want to thank you in the name of my compañeros, my community… That you have helped us, from the first day… that you have come and helped us, to see how we were… you have brought us food, clothes, basic things… with the other associations. You have come to help us and we want to give you the thanks. Thank you for your support, both moral and with the basic needs.”
After the tropical storm Manuel and the Hurricane Ingrid in September 2013, thousands of Mexicans suffered from the floods, landslides and damages to the infrastructure. Guerrero and Oaxaca were severely affected by these natural disasters. Highways and roads were affected by the floods and many communities were isolated.
Even though Acapulco and Chilpancingo, the most important cities of the Guerrero state have received resources for the reconstruction, in many other parts of Guerrero the situation is much more difficult. In the Mountain Region and part of the Coastal Region, several months after the storm the reconstruction process is only slowly beginning. In addition, Guerrero is the only state that will receive federal funds for the reconstruction process. For example, parts of the Oaxaca state also suffered heavy damages to the infrastructure, but no federal funds for 2014 have been budgeted for the reconstruction process.
Through our program “Help Mexico’s flood victims”, Yo quiero Yo puedo (IMIFAP) has reached to the marginalized communities in Guerrero and Oaxaca to help them with the basic needs. In September and October, we gathered basic food supplies, medicines and clothes and also received material donations from individuals who know our work. These food supplies were distributed to the communities in Guerrero and Oaxaca through Territorio Jaguar and Siete Colores, two local organizations. This strategy was chosen so that the food aid could be delivered as fast as possible in the difficult conditions were the access to many communities was very complicated.
In October 25th and 26th, we visited communities in Guerrero and Oaxaca to distribute cloths, shoes and some toys too, as the children lost also their toys. In Guerrero, we visited three communities: Banco de Oro, where the donation benefitted approximately 40 families, El Arenal, where 30 families received help and Comaltepec, with 40 families as beneficiaries. In Oaxaca, we went to the municipality of Santo Domingo Teojomulco, where the donation benefits approximately 20 families.
In 2014, our objective in this project is to concentrate more on the reconstruction of the houses and agricultural lands.
In this process, the support of the GlobalGiving donors has been and is fundamental. Thank you for helping the flood victims of these marginalized communities!
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