REYNOSA, Tamaulipas – As reported in The Rio Grande Guardian, Hurricane Hanna was an event of historical proportions.
The storm forced upwards of 50,000 Reynosa residents out of their homes, many losing all three possessions, everything they had.
To be sure, Tamaulipas state police, the Mexican armed forces, and the Civil Protection Agency of Reynosa performed countless rescues. The municipal government itself published the following official statement: “The DIF Reynosa Volunteer Service, following the instructions of our Municipal President, Dr. Maki Ortiz, continue to support the families of Reynosa who were affected by the intense rains caused by Hurricane Hanna. Today, they went to the Las Delicias and Azteca neighborhoods, where through the Youth Volunteer President Lic. Carlos Peña Ortiz they delivered food, bottled water, diapers and mats.”
However, according to reports from citizens in the city, most of the relief effort, the food, the bottled water, the bathroom tissue has been provided by private citizens, taking in up collections in their own neighborhoods and delivering them directly in their own vehicles directly to Hurricane Hanna victims.
“The whole neighborhood was flooded, that had never happened in 30 years, they say. Both sectors were flooded, one had never been flooded. Some people lost everything. And yet we have not seen the government. Just private citizens,” said an emotional Roberta Soto Reyes, a local factory worker who lives in the Ernesto Sedillo neighborhood of the city.
In the affluent Colinas de Pedregal colonia, neighbors have been selling dinner plates to gather provisions for the needy, in an effort spearheaded by Gustavo Zúñiga.
“Fortunately there are many people making donations… we meet people donating diapers, clothes, milk, food on saucers, purified water, water pipes for the bathrooms and tamales,” said the Colinas resident. “All volunteers. I didn’t see anyone from any government entity. It is just good hearted people that go there, without political party affiliations. Still the authorities need to pick up the ball.”
Arturo Duarte, a Reynosa businessman and educator, got together with a few friends to delver meals and relief supplies.
“We always do that whenever it is needed. In April we were making pantries and distributing them to those who needed them due to the COVID-19 contingency.”
Duarte said he and his friends have no political affiliations and are not working on behalf of any business or corporate body.
“We are just a group of friends. That’s it,” he said.
In Mission, Texas, a city itself hit hard by Hanna’s high water and winds, the Plantation Neighborhood Committee has been delivering donated supplies to the suffering population of its sister city across the Rio Grande.
“In Reynosa it got very ugly. A children’s hospital was flooded and many neighborhoods and families lost everything. If someone wants to donate, be it quilts, clothes, towels, pantry that are not perishable you can drop off here at my house, as my husband goes to Reynosa every day and will be taking it to whoever needs it,” states the community website.
Some Reynosans have expressed distain over Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s characterization of the event. He said it had “not caused much material damage.”
“Don’t forget his words,” said Duarte. “That’s what he really thinks of us.
López Obrador was elected by voters largely in the southern part of Mexico. Reynosa and Tamaulipas are governed by the opposition National Action Party which has been in conflict with López Obrador and his policies for much of his administration.
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