Officials have reported that a minimum of 17 patients have died in a hospital within the “central Hidalgo state”, in Mexico, due to flooding caused by “heavy rainfall.” A powerful earthquake has also hit near the famous Acapulco resort in Mexico’s Pacific coast leading to the devastation of buildings and the falling of rocks.
The flooding was also reportedly caused by “a river burst[ing] its banks and water” which caused a power cut in the hospital, based in Tula, Mexico. And according to the BBC, the earthquake, measured at “magnitude-seven,” was felt as far as “370 kilometres away” in the capital, where tourists and residents were seen “spilling into the streets,” leaving their hotels and homes. The Guardian reports that the majority of the flood’s victims were patients suffering from coronavirus. The patients had been undergoing “oxygen therapy” for treatment.
According to Omar Fayad, who is the governor of Hidalgo state, out of the 17 people killed by the flood, 15 or 16 were coronavirus patients. The Rescuers managed to evacuate over 40 hospital patients. Omar Fayad has tweeted, saying the country’s state “authorities” are going to “continue working to face any adversity.”
The earthquake caused its own kind of devastation. It led to power cuts in various states within Mexico and caused Acapulco’s nearby hillsides to tremble, consequently leading to the fall of trees and boulders on the roads.
Rescuers were aided by the army, in order to feasibly deal with the effects of the flooding. And according to Guerrero state’s governor, Hector Astudillo, there had been one recorded fatality caused by the quake, whereby a person was “hit by a post,” in Mexico’s Coyuca de Benítez.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called for those in peril to evacuate to “shelters” or to move to a safer area with family or friends. He added: “A lot of rain has fallen in the Valley of Mexico and it will keep raining.”
According to Adela Román, who is the Mayor of Acapulco, the earthquake has sparked widespread panic within the city, which she has described as “nervous breakdowns,” stating that “[p]eople are worried because there are aftershocks.”
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What’s more, a large number of residents In Mexico City, hastily entered the streets, wearing pyjamas, as the quake became frightful.
Román also mentioned that “a lot of gas leaks” were recorded in “residential areas” and the BBC reports that the floods “affected” over 30,000 people.
Authorities have also stated that In Mexico’s Ecatepec municipality, two people were also killed due to flooding in the area.
So the combination of an earthquake and flooding is a major threat to the people and land of Mexico. However, this is not the first time a country has faced such disasters. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake hit Mexico City in 1985, leading to the deaths of over 10,000 people and mass devastation in the city. Shockingly, on the earthquake’s 2017 anniversary, a “magnitude 7.1” quake resulted in approximately 370 deaths, primarily in the same city.
In view of the recurrence of these natural disasters, and the inadequate performance in responding to them, it is palpable that the country will need to invest in early warning technology and strong prevention and recovery strategies, including the establishment of suitable institutions, methods of maintaining public safety as well as the prompt reconstruction of the local infrastructure. This means that political leaders will need to review how past devastations were handled, in order to inform their current response to the crisis. The successful methods from the past should be identified and those that were ineffective, must either be improved or left behind.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com.— In the Featured Photo: The devastation of buildings in an unknown location. Featured Photo Credit: Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez