More flooding and now protests in the Xalapa, Veracruz area
(information from El Diario de Xalapa, June 29 and 30):
The night of June 28-29, too much rain again fell in the area north and west of Xalapa. Banderilla, adjoining Xalapa on the west and north suffered severe damage to businesses and a number of families lost their possessions. Part of the federal highway (140) west of Banderilla and higher in altitude "turned into a lake" according to Enrique Noé Romero in El Diario de Xalapa, "closing traffic for more than two hours. A garage for storage of tourist buses had water running through it as if from a torrential river. Much other damage was also reported.
The lack of planning in the construction of a bridge on the route is reported to be the cause of the constant flooding in this rainy season, the worst since the bridge was opened ten years ago. At this point, businesses and residents are frightened in the face of already large losses.
As a consequence of this seemingly ceaseless and very severe flooding problem caused by the particularly severe rains, El Diario reported today that the people most affected, those in La Martinica a community in Banderilla, took up a familiar form of protest: yesterday they blocked the main highway in the direction of Mexico City for an hour and a half demanding that government construct proper drainage in this region. They said they'd been promised help before, but nothing had happened.
According to government officials, solutions are complicated and very and will take a long time. Paving projects in the municipality of Banderilla have added to the problem because water pours down these newly-paved places and into La Marinica and existing storm drains can't contain it. Some progress has been made: the National Water Commission (Conagua) has authorized "extraordinary resources."
The citizens of the area have a powerful tool: the threat of blocking the main Veracruz-Mexico artery in both directions. While this is illegal (if you remember, it came up in our colonia when people were agitating about our water delivery -- nothing has changed here, by the way) public sympathy for the sufferers tends to mean that it is not politically wise to arrest them instead of addressing the problems.