Needs grow in Mexico

Hours after Hurricane Emily made a second landfall in Mexico, responders were reporting the storm has left thousands of people homeless in Mexico and across the Caribbean.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | July 20, 2005


Hours after Hurricane Emily made a second landfall in Mexico, responders were reporting the storm has left thousands of people homeless in Mexico and across the Caribbean.

Hurricane Emily slammed into the northeastern coast of Mexico with 125-mph winds on Wednesday morning. The Category 3 storm came ashore before dawn near San Fernando, about 75 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The storm’s eye passed over the southern end of Laguna Madre.

Coastal Mexico could see a 12-foot coastal water rise, and forecasters said the storm could dump 15 inches of rain inland.

Officials in Tamaulipas state, which borders Texas, said 18,000 people had been evacuated from seaside communities.

Hurricane Emily and its predecessor - Dennis - left a path of destruction across Mexico, Grenada, Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti.

Emily’s first landfall in Mexico - on the Yucatan Peninsula - not only damaged resort areas but also affected thousands of residents. Some 7,000 homes were damaged or destroyed when the storm hit with 135-mph winds. Fisheries and farms were also destroyed, and thousands of power lines were damaged.

In Grenada, people are not only struggling with recent hurricane damage but also struggling to recover from last year’s Hurricane Ivan. With a serious shortage of construction supplies, many people in Grenada have not been able to fully rebuild their homes, and many children still attend school under makeshift tarps.

In Cuba and Haiti, people are still coping with serious damage from Hurricane Dennis. The Cuban government reported that 15,000 homes were destroyed, and 120,000 homes were severely damaged. There is more than $1.4 billion in damage to citrus, corn and rice crops. In Haiti, about 2,800 houses were damaged, and 755 more were destroyed.

Many faith-based groups have long histories of working in these badly hit countries.

“So far, the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season has been very active,” said Jed Hoffman, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Emily and Dennis have been particularly damaging to Mexico, Grenada, Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti, but CRS has been on hand working with our local partners to assess the damage and distribute emergency relief materials.” 

CRS is one among many groups trying to meet people’s needs.

Although southern Texas had gusty winds and heavy rain when Emily made landfall on Wednesday, that state avoided the worst of the storm. Emily's outer bands lashed the state's southern tip and meteorologists said 2-4 inches of rain could fall over the lower Rio Grande Valley. Isolated tornadoes were also possible in southern Texas.


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