Aid is delivered by boat to flood victims in Tabasco. Aid is delivered by boat to flood victims in Tabasco.

Authorities now estimate 900,000 affected by flooding in Tabasco

Armed forces delivered over 108 tonnes of aid to the state on Tuesday and Wednesday

Civil Protection authorities estimate that about 900,000 people have been affected by flooding in Tabasco, a figure significantly higher than previously thought.

The affected citizens live in 1,305 communities across the state, according to the Tabasco government.

Federal Civil Protection authorities said on the weekend that more than 300,000 people and 899 communities had been affected by flooding that was caused by rain brought by two cold fronts and a tropical storm and exacerbated by the release of water from the Peñitas dam in Chiapas. Severe flooding also affected parts of Tabasco last month.

The state government said in reports to lawmakers that they still don’t have an estimate of the economic damage the most recent flooding caused because no census or official damage assessment has yet been conducted.

However, the bill is likely to be in the tens of billions of pesos considering that comparable flooding in 2007 caused economic losses of some 33.2 billion pesos.

The director of the insurance company association AMIS said Tuesday that the majority of the people affected don’t have coverage for their homes, vehicles and small businesses.

“There is a lot of damage … but unfortunately a significant number of people don’t have insurance,” Recaredo Arias told a press conference.

He said that payouts were expected to be lower than in 2007 when insurance companies paid out US $407 million in Tabasco.

Arias said is was “sad” that the insurance sector can’t make a greater contribution to the recovery efforts because so many people don’t have coverage.

Meanwhile, five air force planes carrying 43.4 tonnes of supplies departed from the Mexico City airport on Wednesday morning to travel to Tabasco.

The army transported 65 tonnes of aid to the Gulf coast state by land on Tuesday, meaning that a total of 108.4 tonnes of supplies will be available for distribution to affected residents.

Families will be given food packages containing items such as rice, beans, canned tuna, flour, sugar, oil, tomato paste, pasta, cookies, coffee and powered milk.

Many Tabasco residents say that they have been abandoned by the authorities while large quantities of water inundate their communities and homes.

President López Obrador revealed Sunday that federal authorities chose to flood poor areas of Tabasco in order to prevent water from inundating the state capital Villahermosa.

The decision – at odds with the president’s pledge to put the poor first – was criticized by residents of the low-lying areas of Tabasco to which the water was diverted.

Source: Reforma (sp), El Universal (sp), Forbes México (sp) 

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