One of the strongest storms ever recorded, Hurricane Patricia, is about to hit the west coast of Mexico’s, south west coast packing wind gusts of more than 320km.
Oxfam is monitoring the situation and is ready to respond to help the estimated 400,000 people at risk in the path of the category 5 storm.
The hurricane has been compared with Typhoon Haiyan, which decimated the central region of the Philippines in 2013, killing more than 6300 people and forcing 4 million people to leave their homes.
Oxfam Chief Executive Helen Szoke, who was in The Philippines for the Typhoon Haiyan response, said Hurricane Patricia could have a catastrophic impact.
“Hurricane Patricia’s extreme winds, intense rainfall and fearsome waves predicted to reach up to 8 meters in height have the potential to cause mass devastation on coastal communities,” Dr Szoke said.
“Our thoughts are with the people currently taking shelter from the storm, it will be a terrifying experience for those on the ground.”
The Government of Mexico facilitated evacuations and activated its emergency fund as the storm – described by the US National Hurricane Centre as the strongest hurricane ever recorded in Atlantic or eastern North Pacific waters – approached the coast on Friday afternoon.
“Oxfam has rapid assessment teams on standby ready to help assess the damage and immediate needs if assistance is requested by the Government of Mexico,” Dr Szoke said.
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