Lifeguards hampered by funding shortage

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The Puerto Escondido lifeguard corps says a lack of funding has left its members incapable of performing their duties.

Head lifeguard Godofredo Vásquez, in an interview with the newspaper El Imparcial, explained that although they continue to receive calls for help, they are unable to respond due to the lack of ATVs and personal watercraft.

The lifeguards have one personal watercraft but it needs repairs and new parts, including a propeller and a steering whip.

Funding comes from the state government and donations, Vázquez said, adding that public funding hasn’t been enough in recent months, and donations can’t pay for everything.

There is a foreigner who has supported the organization, within his means, who recently donated a propeller, but 10,000 pesos (US $575) is still needed to replace the faulty steering whip.

Puerto Escondido's lifeguards.
Private donations have purchased uniforms and beach towers for Puerto Escondido’s lifeguards.

Vázquez reckoned that the corps requires at least one ATV, or quad bike, in order to traverse Zicatela Beach.

In addition, he said, they lack a first aid kit and flags with which they can communicate warnings to beachgoers.

What equipment the local lifeguards currently have, like lifeguard towers and uniforms, has been donated by individuals or businesses.

Vázquez remarked on the incongruence between the conditions in which the lifeguard corps operates and the successful face Puerto Escondido offers as a tourist destination, one that continues to receive more visitors through new flights and the impending completion of the highway to Oaxaca.

Vázquez said the lifeguards approached Governor Salomón Jara during a recent visit, letting him know about their working conditions. Since then, the lifeguards claim, the governor’s office does not answer their phone calls.

With reports by El Imparcial


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