These are Quintana Roo destinations vulnerable to flooding

In the general vicinity of Cancun, the number of neighborhoods that are most in danger from flooding is 165, while the number of neighborhoods that are at risk from flooding is 153.

These are Quintana Roo destinations vulnerable to flooding
These are some of the places in Quintana Roo that are at risk of floods. Photo by JT / Unsplash

The natural potential -which is the main strength of Quintana Roo's vacation destinations- is paradoxically also its greatest fragility. While the turquoise blue beaches represent the main attraction of places such as Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, or Cozumel, the residential areas suffer risk and danger due to the rains that result in floods.

According to the Atlas of Risks and Natural Hazards of the municipalities of Quintana Roo, concentrated in the National Center for Disaster Prevention (Cenapred), in Benito Juarez, the greatest threat of flooding weighs on 165 neighborhoods, and the risk of flooding weighs on 153.

Rainfall from depressions, storms, or tropical cyclones also threatens 139 neighborhoods in Cancun, according to Annex 2 "Matrices of Dangers and Risks by Neighborhoods".

The same document lists other risk situations such as the vulnerability of 84 neighborhoods, the degree of risk due to fires in 63, the danger of fires in 87, the degree of risk due to subsidence in 57, and the danger of the same situation occurring in another 63.

In Cozumel, in Chapter 5 "Identification of Risks, Hazards and Vulnerability to Natural Perturbing Phenomena" of the Municipal Atlas, it is admitted that floods are "the most recurrent phenomenon", recognizing those areas frequently and partially flooded.

A study establishes nine flood zones in six neighborhoods, in which "it is considered that 7.8% of Cozumel's blocks present a high risk of flooding, with annual recurrence".

The number of houses affected by this factor is 1,486, in residential areas such as 10 de Abril (where 31 blocks with 399 private lots are affected) or the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood (30 blocks with 318 private lots).

Likewise, in the colonias Adolfo López Mateos (19 manzanas with 195 private lots), Inviqroo Cuzamil and Flores Magón (with 5 manzanas and 31 lots), Andrés Quintana Roo (35 manzanas with 316 lots) and Flamencos (4 manzanas with 54 lots).

The risk map dating from 2011 also reports 59 floodable roads with 13,611 linear meters, which have an average depth of 45 centimeters.

In the municipality of Solidaridad, the risk assessment for tropical cyclone weighs on 34 localities and 21 for thunderstorms, in addition to 19 others with 181.3 hectares of soil with a risk degree for subsidence, and 28 for the degree of danger for the same cause.

In Isla Mujeres, whose technical document also dates from a decade ago, it is mentioned that the lower part of the island in the northern zone is the one with the highest risk of flooding, especially in 15 neighborhoods where 80 percent of the local population is settled.

In case of torrential rains, it is clarified, the roads with waterlogging of 30 centimeters high are Rueda Medina, López Mateos, Vicente Guerrero, Abasolo, Hidalgo, and Juárez avenues.

And in the Atlas of the municipality of Othón P. Blanco, it is mentioned that the polygons of flood zones were obtained from the historical records of Civil Protection, but also from a digital terrain model that determined the low areas of the city.

From the analysis of both factors, the level of danger was determined based on the maximum rainfall recorded. The "matrix of neighborhoods affected by flooding" shows that there are 61 neighborhoods at risk of flooding, affecting a land area of 2,176 hectares.

The degree of risk due to flooding prevails in 23 specific neighborhoods with 935 hectares, and in 19 localities (with 181.3 hectares) where risk due to subsidence predominates.