NPR Story
12:54 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Climate Change Aggravates Triple Threat Of Natural Disasters

While the Southwest is fixated on the devastating floods in Colorado and New Mexico, the death toll and damage from flooding in Mexico far surpasses our domestic problems.

At least 80 people have died in Mexico since two tropical storms - Ingrid and Manuel - began pounding the country from both coasts. Manuel was reclassified as a hurricane on Wednesday and hit land again in Sinaloa on Thursday.

Nearly 60 people were missing after a mudslide covered a small coffee-growing village north of the beach resort town of Acapulco late Wednesday. Rescue crews evacuated 344 people from the village, Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told Al Jazeera America.

The Mexican government is working to evacuate stranded tourists in Acapulco, estimated at 40,000 to 60,000 people.

Mexico's death toll from the storms is likely to rise, as the mudslide victims have yet to be counted. Meanwhile, a new storm is brewing over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexico and the U.S. Southwest have both had their share of drought, fire and flooding in the last few years. Towns in New Mexico feared running out of water earlier this summer, before torrential rains helped alleviate the emergency.

Last year, officials from the Mexican state of Durango came to the U.S. to solicit donations of food and money from Mexican immigrant associations to help with the drought in their home state.

Drought, fire and flooding all intertwine to make a sort of natural disaster Axis of Evil. Aggravating our region's vulnerabilities? Climate change, of course.

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