Hurricane Patricia: The aftermath
Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded, made landfall near Cuixmala, in southwestern Mexico, on Friday evening. The country had already declared a state of emergency, evacuated thousands from coastal areas, and officials had warned that it could be the most dangerous storm in history. But by the time Saturday afternoon arrived, the once-ferocious hurricane with 165-mph winds had withered to a remnant area of low pressure, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The danger to coastal villages, however, did not dissipate with it.
Speaking to Cesar Rodríguez Becerra, a photographer working for MSNBC, a Santa Cruz resident recalled the scene:
“The wind began around five in the afternoon, “she said. “The velocity of the air began to increase, and with it you could begin to feel the havoc it brought on. Trees started to fall one by one. It went on that way until 10 p.m.—the winds were strong. We sat in a small corner of the house—we all sat the same way in our houses—caved in. “
Winds uprooted trees and knocked over power lines while heavy rains unleashed mudslides and flooding. Entire villages were leveled. It was a storm that “took what it could grab.”
“When we arrived in the morning I first saw my house and that the roof was gone, I was hit with sadness … that despite all the effort, everything was gone in just one day,” said Jessica Gonzalez, a resident of Punta Perula, Mexico.
Punta Perula sits just along the beach and often seas damage as a result, according to Gonzalez, who said her kitchen sometimes floods—but this is a first for this degree of loss. While a small group of government officials has already visited and taken photographs of the destruction, Gonzalez said, the municipal government has yet to deliver aid. Her husband, who works as a fisherman, cannot return to work until the sea calms, and the aluminum sheets used to rebuild the roof cannot be bought until he returns to work. Asked what she will do now, she simply said: “Wait for help. And see if we can’t find a way to cover the house in the meantime.”
Photographer Cesar Rodríguez Becerra is on the ground for MSNBC, speaking with residents and capturing what Hurricane Patricia left behind. Above are a series of photographs, which we will continue to update in the coming days.