Hurricane Patricia: The aftermath

  • A young boy stokes an open fire as night falls over Chamela, in Jalisco, Mexico.
  • A man surveys the scene in Punta Perula, Jalisco, Mexico on Oct. 25, 2015.
  • A man works on his roof after Hurricane Patricia slammed the village of Chamela, Jalisco. 
  • The village of Chamela, Jalisco, Mexico. Hurricane Patricia caused less damage than feared but isolated areas like Chamela were hit hardest with 165 mph winds.
  • A boy plays with a toy boat in Chamela in Jalisco, Mexico. The village was wiped out by Hurricane Patricia, Oct. 24, 2015.
  • A handwritten note card reading, “I love you” in the dirt after Hurricane Patricia slammed the village of Chamela, Jalisco. 
  • A woman stands in the debris of her home in the village of Chamela, which was entirely wiped out by Hurricane Patricia, Oct. 24, 2015.
  • A man clears out debris in the village of Chamela, which was entirely wiped out by Hurricane Patricia, Oct. 24, 2015. 
  • A young man looks out at the damage in Chamela, Jalisco, Mexico where the entire village was wiped out by Hurricane Patricia, Oct. 25, 2015.
  • Chamela in Jalisco, Mexico, where this entire village was wiped out by Hurricane Patricia, Oct. 24, 2015.
  • A man cleans up debris following Hurricane Patricia’s landfall over Punta Perula, in Jalisco, Mexico. 
  • A damaged church after Hurricane Patricia hit San Mateo, Jalisco. 
  • A woman in her damaged home, Punta Perula, Mexico.
  • A handprint marks the side of a house in San Mateo, Jalisco.
  • A man cleans up debris following Hurricane Patricia’s landfall over Punta Perula, in Jalisco, Mexico.
  • Cleaning up after the storm in Chamela, Jalisco, Mexico where the entire village was wipes out by the hurricane.
  • Crops remained bent in rural Punta Perula, Mexico, after being set in place by the unprecedented winds of Hurricane Patricia.
  • Downed road sign in Punta Perula, Jalisco.
  • Downed trees along the road in Punta Perula, Jalisco.
  • Chamela, Jalisco, Mexico. Patricia hit land as a Category 5 hurricane on Friday evening before moving inland. 
  • The village of Chamela in Jalisco, Mexico, was wiped out by Hurricane Patricia, Oct. 24, 2015. 
  • Chamela, Jalisco, Oct. 24, 2015.
  • Debris lines the beach in Punta Perula, Jalisco, Mexico.
  • A local gestures toward the damage and debris from Hurricane Patricia in Ejido La Fortuna, Mexico. 
  • Fields of grass on the hillside remain bent in rural Jalisco, Mexico, after being set in place by the unprecedented winds of Hurricane Patricia.
  • A man and woman repair damage to the roof of their home in Ejido La Fortuna.
  • The Ejido La Fortuna in the municipality of La Huerta in Jalisco, Mexico, after Hurricane Patricia made landfall, weakened significantly and passed, Oct. 24, 2015. 
  • Telecable workmen repair damage to the area of Ejido La Fortuna, in the municipality of La Huerta, Mexico. 
  • A man attempts to clean up and downed tree that covers a Jalisco road, after Hurricane Patricia wept through the rural area, Mexico, Oct. 24, 2015. 
  • Utility trucks on a cleanup mission in the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, Oct. 24, 2015. 
  • A horse is seen behind debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia, Jalisco, Mexico. 
  • A man rides his horse around downed power lines following Hurricane Patricia, Santa Cruz, Jalisco. 

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Updated

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. 

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

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