Hurricane flattens Mexico homes, but no major disaster

Hurricane flattens Mexico homes, but no major disaster

CHAMELA, Mexico – Agence France-Presse
Hurricane flattens Mexico homes, but no major disaster

Mexican soldiers patrol looking for people who ask for help after the passage of hurricane Patricia in El Rebalse community, Mexico on October 24, 2015. AFP photo

Patricia flattened a fishing hamlet on Mexico’s Pacific coast, but authorities were relieved to see Oct. 24 that the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country and dissipated as it moved north.

The wood and brick homes with tin and palm leaf roofs of 40 families in the village of Chamela were blown away when Patricia made landfall as a Category Five monster in Jalisco state late Oct. 23.

The families survived because they evacuated to a shelter before landfall, which occurred just 20 kilometers to the south.

The villagers returned to pick up the pieces on Oct. 24 and complained that the government has not provided any help.

“We have nothing. My property’s gone,” said Griselda Hernandez, looking at the space without walls or roof that used to be her home.

While the residents of Chamela lost nearly everything, most of the region incredibly suffered relatively little damage and the authorities rejoiced that no deaths were reported.

President Enrique Pena Nieto lifted the hurricane alert for Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit states as he visited the region, saying that the damage was “smaller than expected.”

“Maybe (the warnings) were exaggerated, but it’s better to be warned,” said Ruben Fregoso, a restaurant owner who reopened his business in the popular resort of Puerto Vallarta after the storm.

Seafront hotels were cleared of their guests in Puerto Vallarta before Patricia’s arrival, while thousands of tourists were evacuated by bus or plane, many taken to shelters. But the town had little damage in the end.

Transport Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said Mexico was saved because the population was well prepared and the hurricane was slowed by the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range.

“We were lucky that the impact was diverted” toward the mountains, he said. “Nature was kind-hearted.”