Support to populations and relief actors after Hurricane Manuel

Publication date: Sep 22, 2013
TSF supports local populations and emergency workers after Hurricane Manuel swept the state of Guerrero in Mexico, on 19th September 2013.

On 19th September 2013, Hurricane Manuel hit the Mexican west coast. This tropical storm, which had weakened after a devastating passage through the south of the country, regained strength as it passed over the ocean. It became a category 1 hurricane with winds of up to 115 km / h.

Simultaneously hit by Manuel on its Pacific coast and Hurricane Ingrid on the Gulf side, Mexico experienced torrential rains that caused significant floods and landslides, destroying roads, bridges and airports. The state of Guerrero was particularly affected. More than 100 deaths were reported and around 100,000 people were affected by this natural disaster.

On 20th September, Télécoms Sans Frontières was contacted by the Mexican Red Cross to assess the telecom situation in the affected areas. A team from TSF landed in Acapulco on 22nd September.

The majority of the road infrastructures having been destroyed, the affected villages were very difficult to reach.

As part of its support for the Red Cross, TSF worked directly with emergency field workers and air reconnaissance teams. They were provided with satellite telephones so that they can organise their actions in this zone where isolation and the lack of communication tools hinder the humanitarian coordination.

Thanks to the support of TSF, the numerous humanitarian actors were able to exchange and, consequently, better coordinate their actions to bring the most efficient support to the people affected by this disaster.

In addition to supporting rescue teams by providing satellite equipment, TSF focused on providing direct assistance to the communities most affected by the hurricane in mountainous areas in the state of Guerrero.

A resident of Quechultencingo, who was hopeless for three days, testifies to the importance of the call she made thanks to the support of TSF:

"Everyone thought we were dead. Even the army did not intervene because they thought there were no survivors. It was only when helicopters passed over and saw people waving that they spotted us. Thanks to Télécoms Sans Frontières, our community was able to make calls to tell the world that we are still alive."