The world is waiting to hear news of the destruction caused by Hurricane Patricia, with communication links down after the category five super storm pummelled Mexico’s south west coast today.
Oxfam Chief Executive Helen Szoke said while there had been reports of cars being moved across roads and trees torn down by extreme winds, the full extent of the damage was yet to be known.
“People talk about the eerie feeling of the calm before a storm, but it is the silence that follows when telecom networks go down that is most disconcerting,” Dr Szoke said.
“This is the most powerful storm the region has ever seen. Strong winds, intense rains and waves up to 8 metres high were predicted to hit the coast, so it is likely that we will see extensive damage. More than 500,000 people may have been affected by the hurricane.
“We can only hope there was no significant loss of life and the damage was not too severe. While 50,000 people were evacuated, we have heard very little about the evacuation of poor and marginalised communities, and this is a big concern.”
The hurricane made landfall as a category five storm at Playa Perula in the state of Jalisco, around 10am AEST, packing wind gusts of up to 325 kilometres per hour. It has since been downgraded to a category four storm, but authorities have warned the danger has not passed, with intense rainfall bringing high risk of flooding and landslides. More than 500,000 people may have been affected by the hurricane.
Oxfam is closely monitoring Hurricane Patricia’s progress and is ready to dispatch rapid assessment teams to survey the damage left in its path, and respond to the greatest needs if required.
To support Oxfam’s humanitarian crises worldwide donate to Oxfam Australia’s International Crisis Fund, by calling 1800 134 134 or visiting www.oxfam.org.au/icf
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