Storm damage in Armería, Colima Storm damage in Armería, Colima. AF Medios

6 deaths, 3,500 homes damaged or destroyed

Hurricane Patricia also left thousands of hectares of crop damage

Six people died, an estimated 3,500 homes were damaged or destroyed and as many as 25,000 hectares of crops have been affected by Hurricane Patricia after it struck the coast of Jalisco just after 6:00pm Friday.

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Six deaths have been attributed to the Category-5 storm that hit the coast with winds over 300 km/h.

Officials said yesterday that two women, one from Argentina and another from Coahuila, were crushed when a tree fell while they and a group of friends were camping in the Tapalpa forest in Jalisco, about 200 kilometers from the coast.

Another woman was hurt and was hospitalized with a back injury, reported Fox News Latino.

The campers were unaware of the hurricane, and many were inside their tents when it struck, according to a report by Televisa.

Four people were killed in an accident on the Colima-Guadalajara highway Friday afternoon during heavy rain and strong winds.

Two more deaths have been reported but not confirmed by authorities. Both occurred as a result of traffic accidents in Tapalpa and Ciudad Guzmán.

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Although a census is being conducted to obtain a precise damage assessment, the governor of Colima has already estimated that repairs in his state will cost upwards of 100 million pesos.

Mario Anguiano Moreno said 97 schools and 197 homes had sustained minor damages, as had similar numbers of medical facilities and businesses. More than 6,000 hectares of crops had suffered damages but much of that will be covered by insurance, he said.

Beaches will require a lot of cleaning, the governor said, and money will have to be invested in publicity to encourage tourists to continue visiting.

The state’s Civil Protection office said 2,000 people were housed in temporary shelters during the storm, but most have since returned to their homes. Director Ricardo Urzúa said highways are operational but urged drivers to be cautious because some are not in the best condition.

Wind, rain and overflowing rivers have damaged 8,280 hectares of banana, corn and papaya crops in Jalisco, said the state’s Social Development Secretariat, putting 5,000 people out of work.

In Michoacán, 10,000 hectares of crops are believed damaged, mostly banana and papaya.

Although Hurricane Patricia was forecast to have the potential to inflict catastrophic damage, its effects did not live up to that billing.

However, for communities dependent on agriculture, such as the Michoacán municipality of Coahuayana, the outcome is indeed being called a catastrophe.

Here, 5,600 hectares of banana plantations have been affected, and 1,200 hectares of papaya destroyed. On top of that, there was damage to mango, tamarind, guanabana and corn crops.

“This means that it’s the biggest agricultural catastrophe in the history of the municipality,” said Mayor Porfirio Mendoza, noting that 4,000 families have lost their harvest this year.

Although the Mexican government has been credited with preventing serious damage through timely alerts to populations that could be affected by the hurricane, that wasn’t the case in Arroyo Seco, a small community in the municipality of La Huerta, Jalisco.

But in spite of the absence of official alerts, residents were able to prepare thanks to news reports, said Pedro González, and did what they could to protect their homes from the storm.

In the end, however, it wasn’t enough: only 30 of 150 houses in the village, whose residents make their living from fishing and ecotourism, survived unscathed. The rest suffered damages or were destroyed.

González recalled that Hurricane Jova in 2011, which made landfall in the same area as a Category 2 storm, had hit them hard, but Patricia felt three times worse. However, the effects of Jova on the region were far more severe. In addition to leaving nine people dead it did more than 2.5 billion pesos in damage.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), Fox News (sp), El Universal (sp)

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