Friday’s Category 5 hurricane, the strongest ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, hit landfall near the Jalisco state coast near Cuixmala, Mexico, an area that is sparsely populated. At the time Hurricane Patricia hit, the previously recorded 200 mph winds had been reduced to 165 mph, still devastatingly strong winds.
Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Robyn Fieser reported that while initial reports indicated damage was less than expected, reports are now coming in that indicate damage to some homes, loss of basic belongings and crop damage due to flooding.
CRS’ emergency team arrived in Mexico on Friday just as the storm was approaching. They worked with the Caritas Mexico staff over the weekend to assess damage and coordinate relief efforts.
CRS and Caritas Mexico have a longstanding relationship, having worked together to provide humanitarian aid for more than 70 years. Last year, Hurricane Odile hit Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula causing major damage. CRS provided shelter repair and prepaid Visa cards to some 700 families affected. The funds not only helped the families, but also provided an infusion of cash into the local economy to help businesses get back on track.