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Border & Immigration

Migrant Camp In Matamoros Prepares Evacuation Plan In Case Weather Worsens

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Twitter user @Enrevolucion_33: https://bit.ly/2BvOPfd

About a thousand asylum seekers are living in tents at a migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas. It is the largest migrant refugee camp on the U.S.-Mexico border.

On Saturday, South Texas experienced heavy rains, winds and flooding from Hurricane Hanna. The hurricane, which was downgraded to a tropical storm early Sunday morning, moved from the Coastal Bend across the Rio Grande Valley and into northeastern Mexico, including the migrant camp in Matamoros.

“Not many tents have been destroyed, luckily. However, the rains continue, so that may not be the case, you know, after today,” said Gaby Zavala. Zavala is with the Resource Center in Matamoros, an organization that helps out at the migrants' camp.

Zavala said there has also been tree damage at the camp.

Some migrants have been living at the Matamoros camp for almost a year as they wait for their immigration court cases to unfold in U.S. immigration court, under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy.

A migrant at the camp who didn’t want his name used said they’re adding nylon to their tents to try to further protect themselves from the rain. He added that they’re going to elevate the tents nearest the river by putting them on top of wooden pallets.

He also said if weather conditions worsen, they will hear a horn that will indicate that they need to leave the camp. An evacuation route has been established.

| Related:  Hanna Drenches Deep South Texas |

In a Facebook post, RCM detailed its plan:

RCM staff and engineers are monitoring rising water levels through a USGS Water alert system, and store managers have been given a bullhorn to sound in the event of severe flooding.

“All residents have been given a trash bag for important belongings and an instructional leaflet that says when they hear the bullhorn they make their way up to the main road and proceed to the gate closest to them,” the post reads.

RCM has asked Mexico’s National Institute for Migration to open both gates.

Reynaldo Leaños Jr. can be reached at Reynaldo@TPR.org and on Twitter at @ReynaldoLeanos

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