MEXICO CITY – The Mexican Red Cross will send at least 15 tons of aid to residents who fled the northern border town of Ciudad Mier because of escalating drug-related violence.
Currently, at least 250 people are living in a shelter established in the neighboring municipality of Miguel Aleman, where they are receiving food and lodging. Starting this week, they will also receive 500 pesos ($40) to use to take care of their personal needs.
The Red Cross delegate for Tamaulipas state, Catalina Gonzalez, told reporters that during the course of this week the aid that has already arrived at Ciudad Victoria, the state capital, will be distributed.
She said the aid, most of it being food, has been collected from donors. Gonzalez added that the Red Cross personnel have instructions to act with caution because violent situations could arise.
Since the beginning of the year, Tamaulipas has been experiencing a wave of violence that has left hundreds of people dead in the ongoing confrontation between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels.
For some time, stores and other businesses in Ciudad Mier have been closing as soon as evening falls and remaining shuttered until the next day.
Ciudad Mier, once a tourist destination known as the “Magic Town,” is not the only Tamaulipas municipality that becomes a ghost town every evening.
Residents of cities like Matamoros, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo – all on the U.S. border – and Tampico have taken measures to ensure their own safety and avoid venturing outside unless it is an emergency.
Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernandez admitted to reporters earlier this month that some cities had become ungovernable and authorities were “overwhelmed.”
Local and state police officers do not have the firepower to take on the cartels engaged in turf wars, requiring a larger federal presence in Ciudad Mier, Miguel Aleman, Guerrero, Camargo and Diaz Ordaz, the governor said. EFE