Remember Hurricane Alex? Not very many people do.
While most Houstonians geared up for a weekend of fireworks, barbeque and possibly too much time with family, many also spent this past Fourth of July weekend waiting to hear whether the homes of family members back in northern Mexico had survived the flooding left by Hurricane Alex.
Two weeks later most major roads continue to be closed, and local groups struggle to reach those most in need of water and supplies.
"I don't understand what mainstream media outlets are waiting on. Does everything have to be as catastrophic as what happened in Haiti for people to pay attention?" Beto Najera of Spanish station Mega 101.1 tells Hair Balls, shaking his head at what he considers less than appropriate coverage of the storm's aftermath.
Yesterday the Mexican Consulate in Houston announced that the McAllen-Reynosa-Monterrey freeway was now almost fully accessible.
The news of the cleared road was a relief to Najera who, in conjunction with FAMSA Furniture Store on Telephone Road, hosted a two-day-long drive for food and clothing donations.
In between calls to coordinate the delivery of borrowed pallets to ease with the loading of donations, Najera said with a sweaty grin that thanks to on-air promotion of the drive Tuesday and Wednesday donations came in big and small.
There were lone individuals coming in straight from work with boxes of cereal in one hand and diapers on the other, and groups like the Cinthia Peña Association who showed up an hour before the drive called it a day with a large U-haul trailer filled with non-perishables. That donation will round up the last of three full trailer containers. Not bad for two days.
"The numbers don't add up, 30 percent of people in Houston are Hispanic, and 55 percent of those hailing from Mexico are from Monterrey, which is just hours away! And the need is so great..." said an exhausted, red-faced Najera while looking for duct tape and the energy to get through the last load of the day.
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Some disagree with the results of his efforts for different reasons. Volunteers were approached by individuals asking for handouts who raised more than an eyebrow when told donations were being sent to Mexico.
Main thread in terms of feedback received: "I'm in need. And I'm here. WTF man..."
Everyone involved in the drive hopes donations will make it into the right kind of needy hands.
The General Consulate of Mexico in Houston continues to update on road conditions since Hurricane Alex left Monterrey flooded and, as many see it, on its own.