The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Mexico recently distributed dozens of large water tanks, pumps, and hoses to 165 families who were severely affected by the forest fires in the La Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains in March. The initiative was part of a project that sought to assist families who lost water service in their homes in the Nuevo Leon and Coahuila states.
ADRA Mexico officials and volunteers went house-to-house assessing damage and needs in the area while providing water and care packages to emergency responders who were fighting forest fires burning over 18,000 acres of mountainous terrain.“There are approximately 2,000 people who live in the affected areas so we spent weeks assessing and reaching the most vulnerable families and found out that most had their water service interrupted so we moved as quickly as we could to provide supplies to assist them in restoring it,” said Ruben Ponce, ADRA Mexico finance director. “Some families needed water tanks and many needed water hoses.” Volunteers distributed 80 large, 450-liter-capacity water tanks, 40 water pumps and 350 50-meter hoses, May 8-9, 2021.
Many families had never had access to water in their home, said Ponce. “It’s such a marginalized area that many are now able to have running water for the first time,” he added.
“I saw so many smiling and others in tears when they received what was promised many weeks before, all at no cost to them” said Jairo Sánchez, ADRA volunteer who helped coordinate part of the emergency response team in the needy communities. “There were many who had to walk two hours to have the pumps and supplies delivered to their home,” added Sánchez.Mayra Briones, a resident of Nuevo Leon, received a water tank. “Thank you for the support and the resources that you have brought us as we face this natural catastrophe here,” said Briones. “You are making a difference in the lives of so many with all that you are giving us. I honestly don’t have enough words to express how grateful I am for your support.”
The efforts took coordination from federal, state and municipal authorities during the assessment of the needs of each household affected and families that received assistance from ADRA.
“We were really happy to benefit 100 percent of the homes affected,” added Ponce.So far, ADRA has identified four additional families that do not have any wells or rivers around it to find a solution to have water. “We found that there are many elderly persons, many who are blind, or disabled who only get water from the kindness of their neighbors, so we want to work on helping them and assess more of their needs with the municipal leaders,” Ponce explained.
In many ways, the forest fire shed light on the needs of the poor families who live in precarious conditions in the mountainous region, said Ponce. ADRA leaders from the northeastern and Montana church regions continue to visit the area every weekend to survey additional needs to help families have accessible water and other pressing needs.To learn more about ADRA Mexico’s impact in La Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains and other project initiatives, visit on Facebook HERE
Jairo Sanchez contributed to this report.