Lessons learned in Tabasco floods

By |3 November 2008|

It is a year since heavy rains caused massive floods which affected one million people in Tabasco, Mexico. Caritas was on the ground and made sure people had food, water and shelter during the worst part of the disaster. Once the emergency was over, Caritas turned its focus to building people’s knowledge and resources to face any future floods. Read the story of Mr Hernández, who received help from Caritas both during the floods and afterwards. Caritas staff tell their stories Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera, Caritas Tabasco DirectorWhen you’ve just started a new job the last thing you need is to find yourself at the centre of a disaster where many people are turning to you for help Read more... Erica Dahl-Bredine, Mexico Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services The only way Erica Dahl-Bredine could reach the trouble spots of flooded Tabasco last November was by army helicopter. Read more... Hugo Diaz Gutierrez, Caritas Tabasco Logistics Officer  Life since the 2007 [...]
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    Hugo Diaz Gutierrez, Caritas Tabasco Logistics Officer during the Tabasco Flood

Hugo Diaz Gutierrez, Caritas Tabasco Logistics Officer during the Tabasco Flood

By |3 November 2008|

Life since the 2007 floods has been a learning curve for Hugo Gutierrez. Last year he was one of the three part-timers working for Caritas Tabasco when the disaster happened. Father Saul hired a few more people so Gutierrez became a part of a team of seven, but there was still no denying the enormity of the situation for such as small team. “Initially, we had no idea what was happening,” says Gutierrez. “It was our responsibility to help the poorest families face the floods.” Not everyone wanted to help those who were in need. Looting took place when the floods were at their height and people had to abandon their homes. “Also, the hidden poverty that isn’t usually so evident became visible,” says Gutierrez. After the floods Gutierrez did emergency response training to ensure that if the floods ever came again, people would be better protected. “We learned about how to organise and divide [...]
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    Erica Dahl-Bredine, Mexico Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services during the Tabasco Flood

Erica Dahl-Bredine, Mexico Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services during the Tabasco Flood

By |3 November 2008|

The only way Erica Dahl-Bredine could reach the trouble spots of flooded Tabasco last November was by army helicopter. "As we flew into Villahermosa, the capital city of Tabasco, everything as far as the eye could see was under water. Whole villages, farmland, almost everything," says Ms. Dahl-Bredine, Mexico country representative for Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Apart from financial help, CRS sent experts to the disaster zone to assess needs and help coordinate relief efforts. Once the floods abated, CRS’s efforts moved on to helping reactivate the rural community by organising an intensive training and leadership programme for representatives from 55 parishes in Tabasco. “They spent two months in intensive training to assess needs in terms of vulnerability to disaster,” says Dahl-Bredine. Course attendees were also taught methods to improve economic development either in terms of better farming techniques , finding employment or generating income. Once the course had finished, people returned to their communities [...]
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    Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera, Caritas Tabasco Director during the Tabasco Flood

Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera, Caritas Tabasco Director during the Tabasco Flood

By |3 November 2008|

When you’ve just started a new job the last thing you need is to find yourself at the centre of a disaster where many people are turning to you for help This is what happened to Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera last year just a few months after he’d started working at Caritas in Tabasco, the Mexican state where one million people were affected by massive floods. “The floods were an enormous surprise that we weren’t prepared for. Many people immediately went to the Church for support,” says Father Saúl. In some cases literally. As numerous people were suddenly made homeless they ended up sleeping among the pews of Villahermosa Cathedral until other shelter could be found. “We weren’t prepared. There were just three people working part-time in Caritas Tabasco,” says Father Saúl. The challenges presented by such a big emergency to the local Caritas were massive. But as with many other emergencies, [...]

Facing the Tabasco floods

By |3 November 2008|

Last Christmas was a very poor one for Mr Hernández and his family. The massive floods in Tabasco in October and November had ruined hectares of his crops and many of his poultry had died of infections, so he had very little to sell at the market. Mr Hernández had one metre of water in his house so he slept in a bed on stilts. His family went and stayed in drier accommodation nearby, but Mr Hernández stayed with the house to deter looters. As Tabasco lies almost at sea level, there weren’t many hills on which to take refuge when much of the land was under water . Some people stayed with their houses, others went to schools or were taken in by neighbours who were less affected. Over 1000 people went to sleep in the local cathedral during and after the floods. Soon after the floods struck, Caritas was in action [...]

International AIDS Conference wraps up

By |15 August 2008|

AIDS representatives speaking at the end of the International AIDS Conference 2008, which took place in Mexico City from 3-5 August, have emphasised the need for a combined prevention package. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done. It needs to be done and it must continue but we can’t sit down and wait for a vaccine the way things are going. People working in the prevention field have now coined combination prevention strategies as the way forward,” said Dr Julio Montaner, AIDS 2010 International Chair and IAS President 2008 – 2010. Up to 25,000 delegates from across the globe including people living with or affected by HIV, professionals from fields of scientific research, health, social services, development, and human rights took part in the five-day conference, which bore the theme “Universal Action Now!” Before the conference, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance held a pre-conference entitled “Faith in Action Now!” [...]

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