An update from southern Mexico, where tropical storms and rain two weeks ago triggered mudslides. We now know that several Heifer communities were affected, one heavily.
Nueva Colombia is perched in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas Mountains, several hours over terrible roads from the nearest town. The project in the community is part of a partnership between Heifer International
and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which provides participants with a good price for their coffee harvests as well as livestock and fruit trees to ensure year-round access to food and income.
Word reached us last week that Nueva Colombia had been hit by mudslides. Two children were killed, and others had to be evacuated by helicopter, since the only road in and out was impassible. Now, we have received news that the entire community has been evacuated.
Other communities lost crops and livestock to flooding, and mudslides were widespread. We will keep you updated about conditions in Heifer communities.
Diana Partida, Heifer International
’s Mexico country administrator, has reported to headquarters that all organizational staff as well as Heifer partner staff is safe following devastating landslides early Tuesday in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
According to news reports
, hundreds of people were buried in their homes after a rain-soaked mountainside gave way in southwestern Mexico. The slide was prompted by heavy rains that have fallen on Central America and parts of Mexico for days as two storm systems—Hurricane Karl and Tropical Storm Matthew—moved across the western Caribbean.
Heifer staff has been in constant communication with partner groups, but has been unable to fully assess the situation due to the ongoing weather and roads closed by flooding and the storms.
Today, Alejandro López Musalem, Heifer’s Mexico country director, will meet with project staff and promoters to begin to assess damages and to coordinate an appropriate response according to Heifer’s sustainable model of development. Partida is traveling to Oaxaca to provide support and help mobilize resources, including food.
Once an initial assessment has been completed, efforts will turn to develop a response plan to restore animal and plants to project participants and community members.
Any guess as to what this man from a Heifer project in southern Mexico is doing? Leave your guess and check back Friday morning for the answer.
UPDATE: In the photo below, Neftali Guellen is wetting down mushroom “logs”—blocks of organic waste material like corncobs and coffee pulp inoculated with mushroom spores. After several weeks, edible mushrooms sprout from the surface, which Guellen harvests and sells from his home. It’s just one part of a Heifer project in the coffee-growing communities of Chiapas that is trying to alleviate seasonal hunger and poverty during the “thin months” between coffee harvests.