Social and religious organizations and government agencies kicked off a campaign in mid-January aimed to stem hunger among the Rarámuri indigenous group in northern Mexico, whose lands were damaged by a historic drought in 2011.
The Organized Front of Indigenous Organizations said that community members were killing themselves because they were unable to feed their children.
“The indigenous women, when they don´t have anything to feed their children for four or five days, get very sad and that sadness is so great that up to the end of December , 50 men and women threw themselves off cliffs … or hanged themselves,” said the group´s director Ramón Gardea in a video.
The Mexican Red Cross called the hunger a “food emergency.”
The Agriculture Ministry said the drought last year destroyed almost 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres) of land in northern Mexico.
Laura Gurza, coordinator of Civilian Safety in the Interior Ministry, denied mass suicides in the Rarámuri communities.
She did say that in the region, which already faces a harsh climate with very warm and very low temperatures, there is “accumulated, millenary poverty” and that the drought exacerbated the problem.