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Mexico: MSF focused on those most in need after floods
Teams provide medical consultations and distribute water and goods
November 12, 2007
Following the flooding in Mexico, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to mobilize its teams to assist the most vulnerable victims in Frontera, Villahermosa, and Nacajuca, focusing on those who have received the least aid. The mobilization of the Mexican authorities continues apace, and MSF coordinates its work with the regional and national health authorities of the Mexican Red Cross, thus benefiting from the assistance of hundreds of Mexican volunteers.
MSFs assistance is concentrated in the municipality of Nacajuca, to the north of Villahermosa, with 15,000 inhabitants. A team is on the ground to provide aid to the population of farmers and day laborers living in this low-lying area, which was badly affected by the floods. Around a hundred consultations were carried out today by MSF doctors and nurses. The most frequent pathologies are skin and respiratory infections.
Access to drinking water remains a major problem. MSF teams have carried out a distribution of 8,000 liters, as well as 400 hygiene kits to limit the risks associated with fragile living conditions and the spread of disease. A total of 400 kitchen sets, 400 blankets, and 125 mattresses have also been distributed to families still living in temporary shelters. Ten days after the flooding began, displaced families continue to wait for a drop in water levels, allowing them to finally return home. A distribution is in process for 2,600 other families.
Villahermosa: certain districts still under water
While the water levels are dropping all over Villahermosa, certain areas of the town center are still under more than 2 meters (more than 6 feet) of water. The district of Gaviota is among the most seriously affected. It is practically deserted, with the exception of a few families taking refuge on the top floors of their homes, living off their reserves and the assistance provided by the Mexican army. The vast majority of the inhabitants have taken refuge in temporary shelters in the vicinity, and the MSF teams have set up a reservoir of 10,000 liters of drinking water for them.
Medical and logistics support for the isolated communities of Frontera
In Frontera, a coastal town, the water levels have yet to drop and certain communities remain cut off. A MSF medical team has visited the area to evaluate the situation and participate in a distribution of drinking water set up by the municipality of Frontera.
Given the large-scale mobilization of the Mexican authorities and the progressive drop in water levels, the situation should revert to normal before too long. The countrys health authorities are undertaking epidemiological surveillance and starting a vaccination campaign against hepatitis A, measles, and tetanus.
The MSF teams will continue their mobile medical consultations in other parts of Nacajuca and Frontera over the next few days. Distributions of drinking water, hygiene kits, and mosquito nets will also continue in the same areas to avoid the spread of disease associated with a lack of hygiene and bad quality water.