Hurricane Odile: Relief & Moving Forward

The damage left by Hurricane Odile is so severe that efforts to evacuate tourists include airlifting them out of Los Cabos using commercial and military aircraft. 18,000 tourists were evacuated using this method, many of them Americans. All remaining Americans were urged to fly out immediately because commercial airport operations in the area may be suspended in order to aid reconstruction and humanitarian efforts.

Quick mobility by the Mexican government was crucial for Cabo San Lucas and its business owners and employees who remained in their places of work to aid relief efforts. They increased the presence of federal forces to restore some order and worked to contain the looting of stores and hotels that followed the storm’s passing.

Evacuees waited for relief in a hotel where they said its staffers worked for three days with only two hours of sleep.

Andrew Erickson, head of the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, added his praise to Mexico’s handling of this crisis, “So far, they have done an extraordinary job managing an extremely complex scenario which hit them quickly without a lot of warning.”

An official in the insurance industry speculates that claims are likely to exceed the $900 million paid out for Hurricane Ingrid and tropical storm Manuel; both of which hit Mexico last year.

For Ingrid and Manuel, the finance ministry had around $925.60 million available in emergency funding. Additional impact is the weakening of an already weak economy in Acapulco. With nearly 400,000 people affected and tens of thousands evacuated and living in shelters, it is no surprise why this storm combination is being compared to Hurricane Odile.

Hotels in Baja California Sur were spared from Ingrid and Manuel, but not from Odile. However, the real economic impact is still in question for Mexico and its severely damaged areas.

The added security mentioned earlier is apart of the “Baja California Sur Economic Reactivation Plan”. This federal strategy is aimed at getting the local economy achieve normality as soon as possible.

Many financial incentives have been announced to support all types of businesses, and already, six supermarkets and 11 bank branches were reopened over the weekend.

Temporary employment by the government has been offered to citizens who may receive a salary for assisting in cleanup and recovery.

In current news, the San José del Cabo International Airport (SJD) will remain closed to commercial flights as the result of extensive damage. The Grupo Aeropuerto del Pacifico stated in a press release that the airport will be closed to commercial traffic until at least October 8th.

Only official and humanitarian flights are occurring within this time frame leading up to October. Still remaining to be announced is the official reopening date of the airport following the repair of damaged terminals.

With the collected efforts between the government as well as international aid, Los Cabos and the other affected areas are doing all they can to return its economy and its people back to normalcy. Until further updates are issued, we can also hope that tourism continues in the area by early October.


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