Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Food crisis in rural Mexico

The New York Times reported yesterday on a severe drought in rural northern and central Mexico, and the response that the Mexican government and those in Mexico City have mounted. The government authorized $2.63 billion in aid for rural parts of 19 of Mexcio's 31 states. The aid will take the form of potable water, food, and temporary jobs, though more meaningful relief is not expected until the rainy season begins in about five months. Getting the aid to many of the rural areas has proved a struggle, as roads are insufficient for cargo vehicles to pass through. Instead, the 70-lb bags of staples such as rice and beans, as well as winter clothing, are being transported by four-wheel drive vehicle, donkeys, or on people's backs. An except about the particular situation of the Tarahumara people follows:
Among the more seriously affected communities are tribal areas of the Tarahumara indigenous community in the Sierra Madre, in the north. Known for endurance running and self reliance, the Tarahumara are among Mexico's poorest citizens. When false reports of a mass suicide brought on by hunger surfaced recently, journalists and aid organizations poured in to shed light on the situation.
Indeed, reports of the mass suicide led to mobilization among residents of Mexico City, who gathered food aid and clothing.

Some 7 percent of Mexico's agricultural land has suffered a total loss, as some areas have not had rain for as long as 17 months. Illegal crops like marijuana are also thought to have suffered.

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