Mexican response to Hurricane Katrina
Units of the Mexican Armed Forces responded to the emergency situations after Hurricane Katrina with aid and assistance, appearing as a flagged, uniformed force in the United States for the first time since World War II in 1942.
On August 30, 2005, Mexican President Vicente Fox sent his condolences to President George W. Bush: "In the name of the people and of the government of Mexico, I assure you of my deepest and most sincere condolences for the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Katrina". He also mentioned his instructions to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; that the United States would be provided with any kind of help that was needed.
The Mexican Red Cross sent four rescue experts from the state of Jalisco to assist in rescue efforts in New Orleans. The government of the Mexican Federal District also pledged to help with relief efforts.
On September 4, the Mexican Navy offered ships, buses and helicopters to assist in rescue missions. The offer was accepted and the Mexican ship Papaloapan departed from Tampico, with two Mi-17 helicopters, eight all-terrain vehicles, seven amphibious vehicles, two tankers, radio communication equipment, medical personnel and 250 tons of food.
On September 5, the Secretariat of Social Development pledged 200 tons of food, to be delivered in five airplanes by the Mexican Air Force.
The Secretariat of National Defense, on September 6, sent Mexican soldiers with expertise in rescue missions to the area affected by Katrina. Also sent the same day were 35 vehicles and 162.7 tons of food, carried by trucks traveling through the state of Texas.
The members of congress of the Federal District pledged a day of salary each on September 7, to be sent to those affected by Katrina. The National Commission of Water sent bottled water and canned food upon request. Naval ship Papaloapan arrived the same day, with 389 soldiers and other personnel from the Mexican Navy. Units of the Mexican Army, a total of 184 people, arrived by land with 35 military vehicles.
On September 8, the Mexican Army was received with honors at Kelly Air Force Base by the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Local news channels noted the fact that the Mexican Army operated on U.S. soil after 159 years of absence, with the last time being the Mexican-American War.
End of mission
On September 25, the 184 person Mexican army contingent completed its 20-day-long mission to provide relief to hurricane victims and relief workers from Katrina and Rita. The Mexican Army's field kitchen, a tractor-trailer turned into a kitchen, served 170,000 meals during their deployment to the former Kelly Air Force Base. They also assisted in the distribution and management of more than 184,000 tons of supplies.
On September 26, 2005 in a small ceremony conducted by the Mexican consulate, the Mexican troops ceremonially ended their mission. They broke down their camp, packed their equipment, folded their flag and drove back to Mexico.
- "President Fox Sends New Message about Disaster Caused by Hurricane Katrina", Sistema Internet de la Presidencia, http://fox.presidencia.gob.mx/en/activities/speeches/?contenido=20654&pagina=1
- "Fifth Army helps Mexican Relief convoy movement to San Antonio", Fifth U.S. Army/ARNORTH - News, http://www.arnorth.army.mil/news/2005/September/MexicanRelief.htm
- "Mexican army convoys head for U.S. to deliver aid to Hurricane Katrina victims", Denton Record-Chronicle (Associated Press), http://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D8CF2P2O0.html
- Fox message
- 5th U.S. Army
- (Spanish) Condolence letter sent by President Vicente Fox to President George W. Bush.
- (Spanish) Mexican President Vicente Fox celebrates the uneventful entrance of the Mexican Army to US soil in solidarity.
- (Spanish) Mexican Army Departs to U.S. article on Milenio Diario.
- (Spanish) Mexican Army Returns to Texas article on Milenio Diario.
- (Spanish) Mexican Army arrives in Texas article on El Universal.
- Mexican Military Brings Aid To Katrina Victims article on the Free Internet Press site.
- Heads turn as Mexican troops roll into US with aid article by Reuters.
- A helping neighbor: Mexican military sends relief, a September 2005 article from The State.
- Mexican Forces Wind Up Humanitarian Mission, a September 2005 article (with photos) from the American Forces Press Service website.
- DefenseLink News Article