Word Spotlight: Mexico's Rapid Reaction

Images of filthy water engulfing Mexico's southern city of Villahermosa as residents clung to rooftops were reminiscent of the flooding that devastated New Orleans in 2005. But unlike Katrina, this natural disaster caused no anarchy or four-figure death toll. Amid heavy rains, President Felipe Calderón ordered in thousands of troops two days before the most damaging flooding hit. When the riverbanks finally burst, more than 60 helicopters were buzzing through the skies, carrying out nonstop rescue and relief missions. Calderón and half his Cabinet then touched down in Villahermosa four times in a week, giving televised updates on everything from the use...

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