There are 18 dead in the storm; fail in preventive actions

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It is the highest figure so far of the current Government; There are now nine deaths after the stream overflowed in Autlán

The Jalisco Civil Protection and Firefighters Unit (UEPCBJ) confirmed the ninth death after the overflowing of the El Cangrejo stream, located in the municipality of Autlán.

The state agency indicated that they still need to find a person who remains missing after being swept away by the current early last Monday.

With the confirmed victim, there are 18 deaths resulting from the storms during the current season. It is the highest number of deaths from this cause so far during the current state administration.

The above occurred even though according to Víctor Hugo Roldán, head of the UEPCBJ, work is being done at the state level with the Comprehensive Risk Management scheme, under which the population of the different municipalities of the Entity is made aware of the risks depending on the place they live.

“We want them to understand what risks they have to live with every day, and jointly, both municipal and state authorities and the Federation, at the given time, even through some private entities, we carry out mitigation to the extent of possible of that risk,” he indicated.

The official added that the above gave positive results in 2022, when after Hurricane “Roslyn” in August, no deaths were documented due to the rains.

Paul César Zamora Ruíz, head of the Comprehensive University Risk Management area at the UdeG, indicated that there are flaws in prevention policies.

Conagua omits municipalities with irregular settlements

Last Tuesday, the governor of Jalisco pointed out that some of the people who died after the El Cangrejo stream overflowed, in the municipality of Autlán de Navarro, lived on the banks of the riverbed and invaded federal areas belonging to the federal agency.

“It is a federal issue, it is a call to Conagua so that it can do effective supervision work to prevent this type of phenomenon from continuing to occur, development or construction of houses in areas that are federal, but being a riverbed, it does correspond to the federal authority,” stated the state governor.

However, Conagua had not even identified that there were invasions by individuals to land in the municipality of Autlán de Navarro in which said Conagua had influence, whether rivers, streams or any other body of water in the State whose lands are federal in nature.

According to the federal water agency, through a transparency request, there are 39 municipalities in Jalisco in which invasions by individuals into federal areas owned by Conagua have been registered.

Among them are municipalities corresponding to the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara: Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, Guadalajara and Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, where the invasions occur in the vicinity of some streams and/or rivers that run through the city.

“The area was fenced and there were cattle occupying the site. There are more hectares invaded and the corresponding procedures are being carried out,” the National Water Commission reported on social networks in this regard.

In other municipalities where there are conflicts due to invasions by private individuals, it is in Zapopan and Guadalajara: in the case of the first municipality, there is the case of the Seco stream, to the west of the city, whose surrounding lands have been invaded by private individuals. In that area, in 2021, there was a flood that affected hundreds of homes.

In April 2022, Conagua and National Guard personnel evacuated at least 70 homes that were in the federal channel area.

On the borders between Zapopan and Guadalajara, in the Patria Avenue canal, some irregular homes and settlements were also detected in the area of the channel.

It cannot be ruled out that the avalanche in Autlán was caused by deforestation derived from agriculture.

Urgent, preparation of Risk Atlas of the municipalities

Of the 125 municipalities, only 20% have their Risk Atlas prepared, according to data from the State Civil Protection Unit of the State (UEPCBJ). Given this, Paul César Zamora Ruíz, head of the Comprehensive University Risk Management area of the University of Guadalajara, indicated that it is urgent that municipalities have this, since it is the basis for the development of any prevention strategy against the occurrence of some disturbing phenomenon, whether derived from nature or due to the hand of man.

“Sometimes municipalities do not have sufficient resources to develop their Risk Atlases, where dangers are identified, as they are very expensive, and small municipalities cannot access them, but this would benefit a lot because it allows them to identify their risks, and take action.”

Last Tuesday, the governor of Jalisco denied that what happened early last Monday had occurred as a result of events similar to those experienced in San Gabriel in June 2019, which left five people dead.

As determined then, that tragedy occurred due to deforestation due to excessive avocado harvesting, however, he stated that on this occasion it occurred “due to an atypical rain.”

“It is not an area of high productivity, for example, in the case of avocado. That area of Autlán and El Grullo is a sugarcane area, I would not see that circumstance. We are going to review the issue, but what we have is an extraordinary haste. There was no blockage on the bridges like in the case of San Gabriel, when if you remember in San Gabriel they were blocked by the descent of trunks and branches, in this case it was not like that, it was the amount of water that took away the houses”, asserted the governor.

Despite this, Paúl César Zamora Ruíz, head of the Comprehensive University Risk Management area at the University of Guadalajara, pointed out that the possibility that the tragedy that occurred in Autlán is related to possible deforestation cannot be immediately ruled out, since the The region does develop agricultural activities, which began around 2005, due to the production of cane and blueberries.

“This means that the soils are not worked properly, suffering a dynamic in such a way that when we have a rain these soils no longer retain moisture in the upper parts, and their removal causes the communities and people who live in the lower parts receive the consequences of avalanches. According to what we saw in the images, there were very likely soil changes at the top,” lamented the academic.

Given this, he said, it is necessary that an ex officio investigation be initiated by the environmental authorities, such as the Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Development or the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection, in search of confirming or rule out whether there were changes in land use to benefit farmers, whether adequate management has been given to the production lands and who are the people responsible for it.

Source: Informador