This is an appeal to support the victims of hurricane "Paulina", which has caused death and destruction in the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. It is an invitation to form part of support networks for towns and villages in grave problems. It is a message directed to all our friends, friends of friends, businesses, institutions, organizations and governments willing to lend a hands and open their hearts to others that are now in need.
It is important to realize that despite the fact that the hurricane has left, the damages are creating problems that will increase and become worse. Tens of thousands of people, the majority Indigenous who live in small communities on the coast and in the mountains, are at present facing grave risks of infections, epidemic diseases and famine.
There are places where it is believed that people have not eaten since the hurricane, 10 days ago. Destroyed road access, flooded rivers with strong currents that are impossible to cross, and extremely rough mountainous geography have been factors that frustrate efforts to get to these affected regions. Another grave problem is that, despite the generosity of Mexicans and people from other countries, very little support has arrived to the places where it is most needed. Shamefully, this is partially due to the poor distribution -often immoral and corrupt-that benefits only some people and institutions seeking monetary gain and political power from the desperation of others.
Due to a serious shortage of clean water, entire communities are drinking the flood waters polluted with the decomposing bodies of animals and human beings that fell victims to the hurricane. Many have lost their homes and all their belongings, washed away in destructive torrents of water and large mudslides. Cases of cholera, dengue and yellow fever have already been detected in some places.
It is important to understand that the effects of the damage will remain during many years. In the coffee-producing regions (an activity that provided a minimal income), a 70 to 100% loss has been reported. A coffee plant needs four to seven years to begin to yield its fruit. This means that peasant farmers of the region will not be able to produce coffee until the year 2001; many will have to wait until 2004. Mudslides have destroyed woodlands. Besides harming small community-based lumbering enterprises, this will dry up drinking-water springs the community depends upon. Strong water torrents and powerful winds have almost completely destroyed corn and bean crops, leaving entire communities without their staple food for more than one year. In some cases, the mudslides have taken away all the topsoil that was fertile for cultivating, leaving entire communities without any place to grow their crops.
In the State of Oaxaca there exist some organizations that collect drinking water, food, clothing, tools, materials and money, placing special attention that these arrive where they are meant to, without political manipulations or any other preferences besides necessity itself. Below is a list of some organizations that have taken on this task with honesty, followed by a brief description of who they are:
FORO DE ORGANISMOS CIVILES DE OAXACA (F.O.C.O.)
FORUM OF CIVIL ORGANIZATIONS OF OAXACA
A network of articulation and convergence for 38 non-government organizations in the state of Oaxaca that work with people and groups that suffer from social disadvantage. Some of these organizations work directly with the communities that have been affected by the hurricane and have first-hand information. The trust and close relationship with these communities allow them to provide direct and efficient aid. To attend the needs caused by the hurricane, F.O.C.O. has created centres to receive donations; it gathers and processes information on the affected zone, provides links between donors and those who receive aid, and helps make contacts with volunteers in health and rescue activities. F.O.C.O. is at present designing strategies for long-term recuperation of the damaged communities.
CONTACT FOR F.O.C.O.
Espacios Alternativo A.C.
Tel. and fax: (951) 4-04-55
Attention: AURORA VIGNAU
Branch No. 0549
Account No. 8548-9709-1881-7889
Account registered under the name of ALEJANDRA ZAFA
ORGANIZACIONES INDIAS POR LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS DE OAXACA (OIDHO)
INDIAN ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS OF OAXACA
This non-government organization offers consultancy, legal aid, workshops and information services on Human Rights for Indigenous communities in Oaxaca. OIDHO has direct contact in the affected region. At present it is collecting and distributing food, clothing, medicines and money. It also gathers information from the communities so as to pass it on to the donors. In the Third National Indigenous Assembly (originally convened by the Zapatista Army for National Liberation) OIDHO was recognized as the official centre for distribution aid given by donors.
ORGANIZACIONES INDIAS POR LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS DE OAXACA A.C.
Tel. and fax: (951)4-67-49
Attention: Alejandro Cruz López or Anita Bayer
Main Office, Oaxaca
Branch No. 090, Plaza 071
Universal Account No. 07112014421
Account registered under the name of Anita María Bayer
LA DELEGACION DE OAXACA DEL INSTITUTO NACIONAL INDIGENISTA (INI)
OAXACA STATE DELEGATION OF THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS INSTITUTE
This Federal Government entity has been attending indigenous communities for 50 years. Besides taking measures that will place government funds in the affected communities, the Oaxaca State Delegation offers its infrastructure (Coordinating Centres in some communities, vehicles, communication, etc.) to transport the material that has been donated. The INI offices serve as gathering centres all over the country as well. The Institute is also making damage evaluations and will develop long-term support strategies.
INSTITUTO NACIONAL INDIGENISTA - DELEGACION ESTATAL OAXACA
Heróico Colegio Militar No. 904
Tel.: (951) 5-16-63, 5-19-74
Fax: (951) 3-00-76
CENTRO DE REHABILITACION INFANTIL PI-APALMERA
CHILD REHABILITATION CENTRE "PI-APALMERAO
This centre works with differently abled persons who live in several communities in the coastal region of Oaxaca. The Hurricane destroyed the Centre completely, leaving it under two metres of water. At the present moment, Pi"a's volunteers, workers (including doctors and physiotherapists) as well as the differently abled persons are dedicating all their energy to the attention of their fellow hurricane victims. They are asking for support in the aid of others, and for the reconstruction of their own rehabilitation centre.
CENTRO DE REHABILITACION INFANTIL PI-APALMERA
Anna Johansson de Cano
c/o Esperanza Pérez de Cano
Privada Antonio Gay #2
We would like to remind you that the support the communities require is both immediate, and long-term. It is important to keep in mind that much of the damage the hurricane has left behind will stay with us for months if not years. Support will be needed beyond this first critical period.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
First, we invite everyone to donate personally or collectively; to organize events for consciousness and fund raising, and to gather clothing, food, medicines, etc.; also, to immediately send this urgently needed support to the States of Oaxaca and Guerrero. We also encourage you to distribute this information through Internet, faxes, meetings, conversations, radio and television broadcasts, etc. We invite you to accurately and faithfully translate this message to other languages so that it may have a wider reach and thus count on the possibility of stronger support.
WHAT IS NEEDED RIGHT NOW
What we can receive with most expediency is MONEY. Please make deposits in any of the bank accounts listed above. Following is a list of articles and supplies that would be very useful.
NON-PERISHABLE OR CONSERVED FOODSTUFFS SUCH AS: Drinking water; maize; beans; rice; flour; other grains; cooking oil; canned meat, soup and vegetables; milk, salt, sugar, pasta, etc.
TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION SUPPLIES AND TOOLS: Cardboard or asbestos roof sheets, waterproof canvases, hammers, hand saws, machetes, nails, rope, plastic sheets, etc.
OTHER EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL: Water purifying units, water pumps, 1O and _O hose, portable stoves with fuel, pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, cups, insect repellent, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, sheets, towels, blankets, matches, candles, flashlights, etc.
MEDICAL SUPPLIES FOR: Diseases of the respiratory system, infections in the digestive system, skin infections, intravenous serum, disposable syringes, gauze, sterilized cotton, disinfectants, antibiotics, etc.
CLOTHING: A great deal of the victims lost absolutely everything, remaining only with the clothes they happened to be wearing at the time. Rain persists and temperatures have dropped below normal. Clothing for men, women, boys and girls are needed. Clothing for cold and warm weather.
We would appreciate it if you let us know, at the Indigenous Video Centre - Oaxaca, when you send support, what it is and how you are sending it, so as to make its reception and distribution as agile as possible.
If you so request it, we can provide precise information on the condition of the communities and their progress, according to information that is being gathered by INI, F.O.C.O., OIDHO and PI-APALMERA.
We hope to receive generous responses very soon.
A MILLION THANKS!!!
The workers of the Centro de Video Indígena-Oaxaca (Indigenous Video Centre-Oaxaca)
Instituto Nacional Indigenista
Circuito la Cascada 103
Fraccionamiento la Cascada
Tel. and fax: (951) 5-37-15