Friday, November 12, 2010

Storms damage budgets in Central America, Mexico

Patrick Rucker and Mica Rosenberg in Reuters: Heavy rains and storms this year have left Mexico and Central America with hundreds of millions of dollars in repair bills, a trend officials expect to be a perennial strain on budgets as climate change sets in. The unusually fierce hurricane season, which brought 19 major storms through the region, left local governments scrambling to find the money to rebuild roads, bridges and homes, forcing them to rethink tax cuts or seek outside aid.

Climate change models show the situation will only get worse as temperatures rise, taking a real toll on budgets across Latin America. Development banks and ratings agencies alike have urged the region to brace itself for severe weather and the resulting heavy repair costs. "This is our new life with climate change," said Gabino Cue, the incoming governor of Mexico's southern state of Oaxaca, which bore the brunt of heavy rains this season.

Oaxaca, one of Mexico's poorest states, could face a $163-million (2-billion-peso) tab to repair roads, bridges and other public works damaged by extreme weather this year. "The government has to redraw the risk map with this phenomenon," Cue said. …

A scene from the 2007 floods in Tabasco, shot by Huitzil, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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