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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Widespread Corruption in Oaxaca State Government Threatens Well Being of People There

Shameful Acts of Neglect and Incompetence by Oaxaca State Government Helped to Bring About Sept. 28 Catastrophic Mudslide

Scores of lives have been horribly affected in Oaxaca, with scores of people having their homes flooded and countless people left homeless due to the Sept. 28 disastrous mudslide in Oaxaca. As has been recently reported, eleven people are reported missing, with no confirmed deaths so far. However, rescue crews have still not reached six communities in Tlahuitoltepec. Electricity and phone service are down in the majority of the municipality, and many roads are covered with debris or have washed away.

As the gut-wrenching and poignant photos above illustrate, real people's lives have been devastated. Ironically, in an area where people are desperate for access to clean, safe drinking water, it is dirty water that is now jeopardizing and endangering their lives. The 2010 hurricane season has caused record rainfall in southern Mexico, leading to flooding, mudslides, and deaths in several states, including Oaxaca.

Water for Humans continues to work closely with NGOs, local government officials, water experts, and universities to construct a state-of-the-art constructed wetland, that, when finished, will bring potable water to scores of people in the Oaxaca Valley who are battling dreadful sanitation conditions. We have established robust relationships that will bring much needed fresh, clean water to the people of Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla in the Oaxaca Valley.

It is very unfortunate that Water for Humans has not been able to work with the Oaxaca State Government during the process of preparing for construction of our wetland. To be sure, Climate Change--with the inexplicable weather phenomena that it has brought about in recent years, is partly to blame for this horrible mudslide, as is deforestation.

But the State Government carries much blame on its shoulders for this disaster. The current Oaxaca Governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, seems oblivious and ignorant of the conditions that were widely publicized by experts, who warned about the potential for mudslides like this most recent one. Gov. Ruiz decided to act only when Tlahuitoltepec officials apparently grossly exaggerated the Sept. 28 mudslide. Local officials warned the state government that mudslides could provoke a humanitarian disaster since August, when they complained that 50% of the highways in their region were damaged.

Water for Humans is grateful to our partners whom we are collaborating with on this constructed wetland project. And we look forward to the positive results of our work beginning in 2011. We also are very hopeful that Gabino Cue Monteagudo, the incoming Oaxaca Governor, who takes office this December, will prove to be a worthy and helpful partner in our wetland endeavor.

Better times are ahead for the people of Oaxaca, and the new state government should work extremely hard to restore lawful behavior and competent leadership. The people of Oaxaca deserve no less!

Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, Governor of the State of Oaxaca

Note: Gov. Ortiz has been accused by some of murder and rigging the 2004 election, which brought him to power.

Your Comments Invited -- Water for Humans would like to hear from you about the impact you believe lawlessness and corruption in the Oaxaca State Government has had on the people in Oaxaca. What do you think the new Oaxaca Governor should do to help improve the well being of the people of Oaxaca?

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