Chaos in Baja California Sur!
As is common in September, tropical storms rage off of Mexico’s coasts. In the worst cases they turn into hurricanes. Fortunately, most of the hurricanes weaken before they hit land, but the residents of Baja California were less fortunate last weekend.
Hurricane Odile was a category 4 and hit the coastal resort town of Los Cabos and La Paz in the south of the Baja California peninsula with full force and intensity, causing significant damage. Ports, beaches and airports were closed, schools were closed, and thousands of people were evacuated. A state of emergency has been declared in many communities and more than 2,000 soldiers have been deployed to support local communities and prevent looting.
Many streets were flooded, hotels suffered considerable damage and many people had to be taken to hospitals.
Since the electricity and water supply was no longer available in large parts of the peninsula, emergency shelters were set up for 10,000 people. 30,000 tourists were stuck in Los Cabos and it was initially not possible to fly them out as the airport was closed and no planes could land in Los Cabos. Due to the national holiday “Dia de la Independencia” may vacationers were in the region when the hurricane hit the mainland.
After the celebrations for the national holiday, President Enrique Peña Nieto travelled to Baja California to get a first hand impression of the devastation. The government and the finance minister have announced aid programs for those affected and the reconstruction of this holiday hot spot is to be tackled swiftly and local people will be provided with relief supplies. Thousands of tourists are currently being flown out and the telephone and electricity networks are slowly but surely being restored. Nevertheless, there is a long way to go before people can return to normal.
Odile was the worst storm to hit Baja California in the last 50 years and we wish the people in Los Cabos and La Paz all the best and much strength for the upcoming weeks.
Tip: If you are planning a trip to Mexico, you should try and avoid September, as most of the hurricanes are on the move during this time. The best time to travel to avoid hurricanes is from November to May/June.