Responding after Hurricane Patricia in Mexico

October 23, 2015

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  • Evacuees remain at a shelter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on October 23, 2015, during Hurricane Patricia.
    HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images Photo: Evacuees remain at a shelter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on October 23, 2015, during Hurricane Patricia.

Update October 27: Days after Hurricane Patricia made landfall, and the damage was much less than anticipated, said Rafael Velasquez, Mercy Corps’ leader of the Hurricane Patricia assessment team.

But the people of Mexico still need help to recover from the storm’s flooding and damage. We will work with local partner organizations on the ground to provide technical equipment and much-needed supplies to help communities as they recover.

Following Hurricane Patricia, our small team of emergency responders arrived in Mexico to assess the storm’s damage. They worked closely with local partners on the ground to evaluate the urgent needs of locals, who suffered through wind, rain and power outages during the storm.

The storm did take its toll on affected communities. More than 3,000 homes were damaged, and at least 235,000 people at some point lost power. According to reports, the winds and flooding from the storm ruined about 19,000 acres of valuable crops.

“Many people in Mexico, and in particular, the rural poor, lost possessions, access to safe drinking water and most crucially their livelihoods,” said Velasquez of the storm’s lasting effects.

While assessing the damage, Velasquez and the team looked for gaps in relief efforts where Mercy Corps’ expertise could add the most value. While we do not currently have an established Mercy Corps program in Mexico, we are able to work with local partners who already have extensive knowledge of the area. We determined that Mercy Corps can play a role in two different ways. We will support those local partners by providing equipment and technical knowledge that will help them continue to assess and respond to the effects of the storm.

A Mercy Corps program called MicroMentor connects small business owners and entrepreneurs in Mexico with skilled mentors. Through MicroMentor, we will link local relief organizations with private companies that can provide much-needed items like solar panels and water-purification systems.

“MicroMentor will allow Mercy Corps to empower entrepreneurs to work quickly and support their communities where they need it the most,” said Velasquez. “Already we have pledges from Mexican business owners to provide state-of-the-art water filtration systems and solar panels in Jalisco state.”

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