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Telmex Delivers Humanitarian Aid To Storm Victims

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September 26, 2013

Telmex, the dominant Mexican phone carrier owned by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, has delivered 114 tons of humanitarian aid to thousands of Mexicans affected by the twin storms on the Gulf and Pacific coasts.

Telefónos de México, or Telmex, the dominant Mexican fixed-line phone carrier controlled by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, responded to the current national emergency caused by Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid with aid for thousands of victims in Mexico.

Telmex said on Monday that it has delivered 114 tons of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Mexicans affected by the twin storms on the Gulf and Pacific coasts. In 24 of Mexico’s 31 states, towns and cities were flooded, highways and communication were lines cut off, and deadly landslides were set off. More than 1 million people have been affected across the country and 50,000 have been evacuated from their homes.

Telmex said that the aid — food supplies, mats, blankets, and purifying water plants – is being delivered by company volunteers in the worst hit states of Guerrero, Sinaloa, Oaxaca, Michoacán, Veracruz, and Chihuahua. Arturo Elías Ayub, Slim’s spokesperson, estimated the amount of aid distributed so far is 15,000 essential food packages, half a million liters of purified water, and around 20,000 mats and blankets. He did not answer a question requesting an estimated cost for the aid.

In Guerrero, the state most severely battered by tropical storm Manuel, more than 22,000 homes are damaged in 59 municipalities. The extent of the damage in the region has left more than 20,000 people in shelters. More than half of Telmex’s aid has been directed to that state.

Telmex said it installed a total of 14 portable plants for purifying water, nine of them in Guerrero where they are processing 200 liters of water per minute. In three shelters in Acapulco, and two in Navolato, Sinaloa, Telmex set up computers with free Internet access and technical assistance for people that need it.

Telmex is also allowing people to make local calls at no cost from its public phone booths in cities in Guerrerro and Sinaloa.

On Sunday the official death toll rose to around 130. The number apparently does not include crew members aboard a Federal Police helicopter that disappeared last Thursday while aiding rescue efforts in La Pintada, Guerrero. Officials said all aboard died. Sixty-eight residents in that city, the scene of the single greatest tragedy wreaked by the two storms, remain missing after a massive landslide, authorities said.

Guerrero State Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero, a member of the leftist PRD, stirred strong feelings among the population after Mexican media reported that in the evening the storm hit his state, he partied and drank with his political cronies until dawn, accompanied by mariachi music.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, criticism mounted all week in editorials and public commentary that the natural disasters were made worse because of poor planning and lack of a prevention strategy by authorities.

"Governments aren’t responsible for the occurrence of severe weather, but they are for the prevention of the effects," wrote Mexico’s nonprofit Center of Investigation for Development in an online editorial criticizing a federal program to improve infrastructure and relocate communities out of dangerous flood zones.

On Sunday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said that Mexico’s Congress would revise its budget in response to the storm. Material losses are estimated in the billions of dollars.

Original Story