Media CenterHurricane Patricia: Major Disaster Averted, But Reports of Damage Now Coming In

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Updated Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Hurricane Patricia hit the southwest coast of Mexico at approximately 6:00pm local time on Friday, October 23, as a Category 5 hurricane. Patricia's center made landfall in a relatively low-populated stretch of the Jalisco state coast near Cuixmala.

Though Hurricane Patricia’s sustained 200 mph winds were the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, the winds reduced to 165 mph by the time Patricia hit the western coast of Mexico. It continued to lose strength as it crossed land and was downgraded to a tropical storm. Thousands of residents and tourists were evacuated or took shelter as a precaution, and thankfully there was no known loss of life.

Initial reports indicated that the damage was not as bad as anticipated given the storm’s initial strong winds, though new reports do indicate some damage to homes, loss of basic belongings and crop loss due to flooding in some areas. With information from more marginalized areas just starting to come in, the full extent of the damage is still being determined.

Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) emergency personnel traveled to Mexico on Friday as the hurricane was hitting Mexico. CRS and Caritas Mexico staff met over the weekend to coordinate damage assessment and emergency response efforts. CRS, in coordination with other organizations, will assist with first aid kits, food and medicine. Staff will also travel to the state of Jalisco to help assess the level of damage and needs in the coming days. CRS stands ready to provide additional staffing and resources, if needed.

In emergency responses, there are often communities which are more difficult to reach than others with assistance. Cecilia Suarez, CRS program manager in Mexico, said, “[Caritas] is especially concerned about the areas inland which are sometimes slower to receive help.”

CRS has worked with Caritas Mexico for more than 70 years, providing disaster assistance and other types of humanitarian aid. Last year, after Hurricane Odile Battered Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, CRS provided shelter repair and cash grants to 700 families via prepaid cards, which they used for goods and services at local shops. This helped local vendors get back in business and injected cash into disaster-stricken economies.

Tags: emergency

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Robyn Fieser

Latin America - Senior Media Strategist

Robyn Fieser
October 25, 2015

Based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Robyn is the regional information officer for CRS in Latin America and the Caribbean. She raises awareness about CRS’ humanitarian and disaster relief programs, serving as a contact for key news outlets and coordinating coverage of emergency and development stories. From a base in the Dominican Republic, she travels throughout...More