After Earthquake, Mexico Takes Back Offer to Help Harvey Relief

by | September 12, 2017

By Andrea Zelinski

Mexico has yanked its offer to send aid to Texas, saying it has its own natural disasters to take care of.

The Mexican government announced Monday it would rescind its offer to help Texas clean up after Hurricane Harvey due to an earthquake last week that rocked the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco and killed 95 people.

Then came Hurricane Katia, which recently whipped into Mexico.

"This decision is due to the fact that conditions in both countries have changed and that Texas's need for assistance has fortunately diminished," read a news release from the Mexican government.

The Mexican government had sent boats and vehicles to help Texas respond to Hurricane Harvey, officials said. A spokesman for the governor's office said Mexico also sent mobile kitchen units.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray had called Gov. Greg Abbott to offer assistance within the first few days of Hurricane Harvey's landfall in Texas. The storm later dropped about 50 inches of rain on Houston and demolished communities throughout southern Texas and a full recovery is expected to take years.

"We are grateful for Mexico's offer of assistance in the aftermath of Harvey, and fully understand and support the decision to redirect their resources back home in the wake of this deadly earthquake," said John Wittman, the governor's spokesman.

The letter also noted that it was on Aug. 27 that Mexican officials offered specific assistance to Texas in a phone call with Abbott, followed up by an offer of assistance to the U.S. State Department on Aug. 28. But it wasn't until Sept. 6 that Texas and U.S. officials gave a response to Mexico, including a letter from Texas officials saying that only logistical support was needed.

"Judging by the closure of most of the shelters located in the Houston area and from communication with Texas officials, it seems that, fortunately, the current need for aid has declined considerable," the statement from the Mexican government said.

"The Mexican government takes this opportunity to thank ... Abbott for his message of solidarity with Mexico after the September 7 earthquake," the statement continued. "In addition, the Mexican government expresses its full solidarity with Florida given the severe damage done by Hurricane Irma."

(c)2017 the Houston Chronicle