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Mexico facing severe drought in five states


May 21, 1999
Web posted at: 12:36 a.m. EDT (0436 GMT)

MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- The government of Mexico has declared five northern states disaster zones in the face of what residents are calling the worst drought in living memory.

Reservoirs are down to only 13 to 21 percent of their normal levels in many parts of the north, according to Jose Luis Alcudia, civil protection coordinator for Mexico's Interior Ministry.

Some of Mexico's northern regions have had no rain since last August, and some areas have begun to ration water. Alcudia warns "there is harm to agriculture and cattle, and even to the drinking water supply."

The reservoir that feeds Sonora's state capital, Hermosillo, is completelky dry, and some areas have begun water rationing. Some parts of the north have not had rain in nine months -- since last August.

The Mexican government has an emergency fund of 3.64 billion pesos, or approximately $391 million, budgeted for 1999. Declarations of disaster zones will now allow the states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa, and Sonora to have access to some of those funds.

Alcudia says the government is also studying requests for emergency funds from the neighboring states of San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Baja California Sur, and Tamaulipas. He said authorities are studying where and how to distribute the emergency funds.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Bienvenidos A Coahuila (In Spanish)
Gobierno del Estado de Chihuahua (In Spanish)
Gobierno del Estado de Durango, Mexico. Sitio Oficial (In Spanish)
Gobierno del Estado de Sinaloa (In Spanish)
Gobierno del Estado de Sonora (In Spanish)
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