MEXICALI (Border Report) — Though it’s only a two-hour drive from the Pacific Ocean, residents in the Mexican border town of Mexicali have been dealing with triple-digit temperatures since April.
This month, there have been days when the mercury has reached 120 degrees.
Since June 21, the official start of summer, 15 people have died due to the hot weather.
“Every summer it seems the heat keeps getting stronger with record-setting temperatures,” said Rene Rosado, Mexicali’s head of Civil Protection.
He said the city of Mexicali has set up 48 “hydration centers,” where anyone, especially the homeless and migrants, can lie down in a cool environment.
“We have a lot of people who are from other countries and they’re not used to this type of heat,” Rosado said.
He said the city is constantly warning people to stay inside and telling migrants to avoid crossing into the U.S. by walking through the desert.
“We are seeing daily stories about the Border Patrol rescuing migrants who get in trouble,” Rosado said.
Rosado and animal rights activists say another byproduct of the hot weather is animal abuse.
They are reporting many animals are left outside to fend for themselves, especially dogs that are tied to posts without proper water and shade.
“We’re finding so many dogs in terrible conditions, dehydrated after being tied down,” said Juliana Ortega, who runs a shelter for animals in Mexicali. “The city needs to fine people or at the very least talk to them about taking care of their pets.”
Ortega said she didn’t have an official number of animal casualties but expects it to be a high total as the summer moves into August and September.