Mexico Kicks Our Ass

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And in a way that doesn’t involve soccer or spicy food!

I’m a weather geek. I read up, particularly, on hurricanes. One of my favorite weather-related sources of information is Jeff Masters’ Wunderblog. He is a former hurricane hunter and expert in the field. I’ve found his analysis of storms to be the most accurate regularly-updated information on the web by far.

In his latest blog, he posted the third part of an interview he did with the Northwest Florida Daily News. One of the questions involved his vocal criticism of the federal government in dealing with Hurricane Katrina before, during and after it hit.

Most of it is stuff we all know – misunderstandings about the strength of the levees, lack of coordination of relief efforts, etc. What was most shocking to me was this quote:

How is that Mexico, a much poorer country than our own, suffered only four deaths from Hurricane Wilma last year? Recall that Wilma hit the most heavily populated tourist area of Mexico as a Category 4 hurricane, and sat over Cancun for three days. And Hurricane Emily hit Mexico twice, first as a Category 4 at Cozumel, then as a Category 3 near Texas. But no one died in Emily! The difference is that the government of Mexico made a determined effort to evacuate those at risk, and provided transportation.

Americans are often critical of our poorer neighbors to the south, so this should shock anyone who reads it. And, this has spanned multiple administrations. It isn’t as if this problem magically appeared under the Bush administration. They just happened to be keeping watch when the shit hit the fan but make no mistake, this is a systemic problem that has existed for decades.

Seeing the devastation of Katrina and realizing that Mexico, a country with far fewer resources than our own, does an absolutely stellar job of protecting its citizens from disaster should be a massive eye opener for everyone. It was for me.

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