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Hurricane damage in Arteaga Hurricane damage in Arteaga. noventa grados

Arteaga, Michoacán, is a disaster zone: mayor

Hurricane damage impossible to tally as 300 towns have been cut off

While media attention has focused on the states of Colima and Jalisco in the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia, the most dangerous storm ever recorded in this part of the globe also let its force be felt elsewhere, and damage assessments are only now, almost a week later, beginning to indicate how strong the cyclone was.

Such is the case in the municipality of Arteaga, in the southern region of the state of Michoacán, where as of yesterday the mayor hadn’t yet been able to quantify all the damage as there had been no communication with more than 300 towns — about 80% of the municipalities total.

At least 400 families in the remaining 20%, including the municipal seat, also named Arteaga, have seen their homes damaged or destroyed.

Mayor Bernardo Zepeda also reported that one health center was completely torn from its foundations and that in the city of Arteaga alone 150 people lost all their belongings.

“The picture here is very sad, and the federal government’s response isn’t as expected. It is clear that Michoacán isn’t receiving the same attention as Colima or Jalisco, but we’re doing our job as best as we can, and have requested that this part of the state be declared a disaster zone,” said Zepeda.

He commended those residents who selflessly gave their support to the disaster victims during the storm and after.

Zepeda is now worried about a possible health risk for thousands of families as rivers that have overflowed their banks are spreading sewage in parts of the municipality.

One of the victims was Custodio Silviano Valdovinos, a 97-year-old retired artisan whose home was split in half by a river’s floodwaters, which almost dragged him away, too.

Silviano, a survivor of the 1985 earthquake, has almost lost his hearing and sight and has one bad leg. His only living relative is a nephew who abandoned him several years ago.

He is not happy staying in the house of a neighbor and has threatened to run off, but his debilitated state will most likely prevent him from doing so.

Elsewhere in Michoacán over 5,000 kilometers of highways and dirt roads have been severely damaged by the storm, severely hindering relief efforts.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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