Things That Matter

Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Erupted And Now People Think The World Is Coming To An End

Three weeks into the New Year, and it feels like the end of times. Need proof? Australia is on fire, Puerto Rico won’t stop shaking, there’s flash flooding going on in various parts of the world, including here in the U.S., there are tornadoes in the southit’s snowing in Texas — and that’s just listing natural disasters. We haven’t gotten into the conflict with Iran that President Donald Trump started or the Ukrainian plane that was shot down during a missile strike. Now Mexico is dealing with another issue, and it has nothing to do with immigration. 

On Jan. 7, Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano, which is located  40 miles southeast of Mexico City, erupted. Thankfully no one was hurt.

Credit: @actionnewsnow / Twitter

The stunning images of Popocatépetl were impressive, to say the least, but people in the surrounding cities of Puebla and Mexico were warned to proceed with caution as the volcano is still active. Officials told people to remain cautious and keep their windows closed as ash continues to infiltrate the air. When the volcano erupted on Jan. 7 at around 6:30 a.m. local time, the mountain ejected ash and rock 20,000 feet into the sky. News outlets report that lava could also be seen from Popocatépetl. 

The name of the volcano — Popocatépetl — is an indigenous word that translates to “it smokes.” Locals call it El Popo. Since the Spanish acquisition, Popocatépetl has erupted at least 15 times, including last year.

Credit: @nwstampabay / Twitter

People in the surrounding areas were given a Yellow Alert advisory, which alerts them that “Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background activity.” That alert is a bit vague. However, it is one of the least frightening volcano alerts. If they had been given an Orange Alert, which is a level above Yellow, then it would have certainly caused a bit more worry in the area. An Orange alert means, “Volcano is exhibiting heightened, or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain OR an eruption is underway that poses limited hazards including no or minor volcanic-ash emissions.” Everything after that level would basically mean, run for your life. 

Last month in New Zealand, the eruption of the Whakaari on White Island resulted in 19 deaths.

Credit: @qz / Twitter

At the time of the eruption, only 47 people were on the small island, and many of them were tourists. Aside from the 19 casualties, 25 people were injured. 

Paramedic Russell Clark told CBS News that everything in sight was covered in ash. “I can only imagine what it was like for the people that were there at the time — they had nowhere to go and an absolutely terrible experience for them,” Clark said.

The Popocatépetl volcano isn’t the only active volcano currently.

Credit: @volcanodiscover / Twitter

Volcano Discovery reports that there are several active volcanos right now all over the world from Latin America to Japan. Clive Oppenheimer, professor of volcanology at the University of Cambridge, told the Telegraph in an interview that all of these eruptions are actually quite normal, and people should not be freaked out.  

“There have been quite a few eruptions in the news lately, so people question whether there’s an increase in rates of volcanism that we’re seeing just now, and this isn’t really the case,” Oppenheimer said. “Eruptions are happening all the time; some make the news headlines, and others don’t. He added, “If we look at the statistics back in time, the main thing we see is a reporting bias. There are not many eruptions during World War Two, for example, when people had other things to really worry about. So, of course, things will flare up in one place or another place, and then it will be very much how those eruptions affect people and whereabouts in the world [as to] whether that then becomes newsworthy.”

These eruptions may be typical, but with all the chaos going on in the world, people are still freaking out that it’s the end of the world.

Credit: @dominiquedawk4 / Twitter

How much more can we expect?

It’s all too much and it’s not a coincidence.

Credit: @bellav0725 / Twitter

There’s no way to prepare for a natural disaster.

Let’s just pretend everything is okay.

Credit: @kylathecreative / Twitter

Denial never killed anyone. Right?

READ: Check Out The Image Of Mexico’s Volcano Popocatépetl Erupting 14 Times In One Night

Mexican Couple Hailed As Heroes For Saving 10 Dogs From Flooding Caused By Hurricane Hanna

Culture

Mexican Couple Hailed As Heroes For Saving 10 Dogs From Flooding Caused By Hurricane Hanna

Betty Vaquera Escandón / Facebook

Hurricane Hanna slammed into Texas and Mexico on July 26 as a Category 1 hurricane. Yet, the most resilient story to come from Mexico is that of a couple who rescued some sweet puppies. Their ingenuity is something that will make every Mexican proud.

This is one of the most touching moments from Hurrican Hanna.

Mis papás perdieron todo… pero lograron sacar sus bebés 😭

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Sunday, July 26, 2020

That’s right. Those sweet puppies owe it all to the loving couple who took them into their bucket and rescued them. We have seen so many heartbreaking images over the years of animals abandoned to die when places flood during hurricanes.

The videos, posted by the couple’s daughter, is being accepted with so much love and excitement.

This is a fact. These people are some of the most compassionate people by saving these puppies. Who wouldn’t want to take the time to make sure that their furbabies are okay?

She posted a follow up live video when the flooding subsided to show just how damaging it was.

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Monday, July 27, 2020

The storm dropped 18 inches of rain on southern Texas and northern Mexico. The video shows damage throughout the couple’s home and the daughter was there to document it all for them. It is clear from the level of the water that there was nothing else that could have bee done to protect these little puppies.

They did another follow up just to thank everyone.

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Just like any good Latino couple, they thanked everyone who has reached out to them. It is truly such a sweet and wonderful story. We will forever keep this couple in our hearts because of everything they did.

Tbh, it would be so hard not to protect these angels.

Mi antidepresivo 🐶🐶🥰💕 #Elmilaneso

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Friday, July 10, 2020

We can only hope to be as selfless and important as this couple.

READ: Hurricane Hanna Battered Texas But Did It Actually Knock Over Part Of Trump’s Border Wall?

The Coronavirus Is Starting To Hit Mexico’s Poorest Communities And The Results Could Be Devastating

Things That Matter

The Coronavirus Is Starting To Hit Mexico’s Poorest Communities And The Results Could Be Devastating

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Mexico has been ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic. That’s a fact. It now ranks fourth globally in terms of deaths related to the virus, with nearly 50,000 dead. However, many of those cases and deaths have largely been centered on the country’s large cities – including Ciudad de México, Guadalajara and Tijuana.

That appears to be changing as many of Mexico’s most remote and poorest pueblos – most inhabited by Indigenous communities – have started to see the virus appear on their doorsteps. With many rural pueblitos lacking access to healthcare and many having extreme rates of poverty, this could spell disaster for Mexico’s most vulnerable communities.

Mexico’s poorest village has its first case of Coronavirus and this could be devastating for locals.

Mexico’s rural pueblitos, largely home to Indigenous communities, had mostly escaped the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic. For months, as the virus raged across the country, Mexico’s Indigenous communities enacted their own checkpoints and lockdowns and roadblocks that helped contain the virus’ spread. However, that strategy seems to have reached a dead end as new reports of Covid-19 emerge from Mexico’s poorest and most rural communities.

In Oaxaca, the village of Santos Reyes Yucuná – which is Mexico’s poorest, reported its first case of the virus on July 17, four months after the pandemic reached Mexico. The virus took longer to find its way to this remote, Mixtec community located 140 miles from the state’s capital due to its lack of infrastructure, especially roads.

Santos Reyes Yucuná is especially vulnerable to virus. The government’s social development agency (CONEVAL) estimates that 99.9% of the 1,380 residents live in extreme poverty. The region has no hospital and most residents do not have health insurance or the means to travel to a hospital in another area. Another town in Oaxaca’s Mixteca region, Coicoyán de las Flores, is in a similar situation with similar levels of poverty. One case of the Coronavirus was reported last month and the patient, a 25-year-old woman, died. 

Last weekend, 23 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Mixteca region, for a total of 482 positive cases and at least 48 reported deaths. The area’s municipal seat, Huajuapan, has the highest number of cases at 30, with three people hospitalized. 

Many rural communities had been labeled ‘Communities of Hope’ and were allowed to reopen early to avoid severe economic costs.

As the Coronavirus first arrived to Mexico, many leaders of rural pueblitos were quick to enact strict preventive measures, closing food markets and installing health checkpoints and roadblocks. But as the economic effects began to be felt, the government launched a program known as the “Municipalities of Hope.”

The program included 324 towns that the government decided were eligible to reopen early. The plan allowed places with no Covid-19 cases – and with no cases in surrounding areas – to start lifting restrictions, in an attempt to mitigate the shutdown’s devastating economic impact.

But just a couple of months later, that list has dwindled to just a few dozen villages. One town – Ometepec, Guerrero, lasted less than 14 days on the list. “In just a few weeks, we went from zero to 47 confirmed cases and six dead,” said Ulises Moreno Tabarez, a postdoctoral researcher who lives in the town.

According to Dr Carlos Magis Rodríguez, a professor of medicine and a public health researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a lack of serious lockdown measures doomed the strategy from the beginning. “If there were strict control of entrances and exits, a quarantine upon arrival, it could have worked,” Magis Rodríguez told Reforma. “The places this has worked are practically islands.”

But less than two months later, Mexico has become one of the worst-affected countries in the world.

Credit: Toya Sarno Jordan / Getty Images

As of July 29, Mexico has more than 400,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 44,876 people have died from the virus. Mexico now ranks 6th globally in number of cases and 4th in number of deaths. And these numbers are widely seen as under reporting the severity of the crisis. Mexico has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, at approximately 2.5 tests per confirmed case, compared with the U.S. rate of 12.52, the UK’s 22.57 – and New Zealand’s rate of 359.2.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s weak healthcare system is underfunded; hospitals attribute a large number of coronavirus deaths to faulty equipment and a lack of resources rather than the virus itself. The country is in no way equipped to provide unemployment benefits or stimulus checks to almost half of the population that lives in poverty. Furthermore, many informal workers lack health insurance. The country has very little in the way of a safety net, so many are forced to decide risking their health or risk going hungry.

Mexicans are not alone as countries across Latin America have failed to support their citizens.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Across Latin America, poor families have faced an impossible choice – between obeying quarantine measures and starving, or venturing out to work despite the danger of infection.

But unlike other leaders, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has not introduced stimulus measures to help the most vulnerable communities, instead his government has pushed through a string of severe austerity measures – even as he emphasized the need for the economy to stay open.

The president has also downplayed the pandemic – claiming in April that Mexico had “tamed” the virus – and repeatedly emphasized the need for the economy to stay open, striking a notably more relaxed tone than warnings from the country’s Covid-19 tsar, Hugo López-Gatell.