Hurricane Patricia

On October 23rd, a massive category five hurricane hit Mexico, forcing thousands of men, women and children to evacuate their homes.

The Situation

Oxfam Canada together with Oxfam Mexico had readied ourselves for what we believed would be a devastating hurricane on Friday, October 23rd, 2015.  In the span of just 30 hours, an ordinary tropical storm had mutated into the most powerful hurricane ever measured, with ferocious 200-mile-per-hour winds. And the cyclone was barreling right toward Mexico's southwestern coast.

Hurricane Patricia didn't end up causing anywhere near as much devastation as feared. The hurricane hit Mexico's coast at around 7 pm on Friday, a Category 5 storm with winds reaching upward of 165 mph.

Within a day, the storm had weakened considerably, chewed up by mountainous terrain. One reason there were very little fatalities, was that people paid attention to warnings. Schools shut down, stores and businesses closed and people heeded the advisories to stay indoors or move to shelters. When trees and lampposts fell, there was nobody outside who could be hurt. Preparation and effective response can often make all the difference.

Hurricane Patricia in numbers:

  • Overall, approximately 40,000 to 50,000 people affected.
  • 6 people have died.
  • 12,500 hectares of crops are damaged, particularly banana and papaya, according to the Minister of Agriculture.
  • In the Jalisco and Colima areas visited by Oxfam’s assessment team there are 6,000 homes affected
  • Although the authorities have announced the reopening of schools, many have not been rehabilitated and some are still being used as shelters.

Oxfam’s planned response is focussing on hygiene promotion, livelihoods rehabilitation, and promoting community dialogue with the authorities, including:

  • Livelihoods: support to fishermen, small food businesses on the beaches and daily workers through, for example, cash transfers to generate income for families and reactivate local business that depends mainly on tourism and sale of crops.
  • Sanitation: Cleaning days (removal of debris, removal of stagnant water, household cleaning).
  • Health and hygiene: Prevention campaigns and distribution of mosquito nets
  • Communication and strategic messaging: In order to guarantee the right to information to ensure access to services in the affected communities.




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Media enquiries:

Melanie Gallant

Tel: (613) 240-3047

Updated October 30, 2015

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