Red Cross ramps up preparedness as strongest hurricane ever recorded bears down on Mexico

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Geneva/ Panama, 23 October 2015 – Volunteers and staff of the Mexican Red Cross race to assist authorities and communities in preparing for Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded. Patricia is expected to make landfall in Mexico’s Pacific coast as “an extremely dangerous” category 5 hurricane near Manzanillo, a major shipping port and Puerto Vallarta, a popular tourist resort. In addition to the lashing winds and torrential rains, concerns are also high about dangerous storm surges, flash floods and landslides.

The authorities have raised public hurricane warnings from San Blas to Punta San Telmo, and a broader area is under hurricane watch, tropical storm warning or tropical storm watch. Over 50,000 people have been evacuated along the coasts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima, where the storm is likely to hit. In addition, more than 780 evacuation centres have been equipped to shelter up to 260,000 people.

The Mexican Red Cross headquarters and branches have been preparing for Hurricane Patricia since 22 October. A relief team from headquarters has been deployed to the area expected to be hit by Hurricane Patricia. The team has been carrying out evacuation and alert activities.

The Red Cross has also dispatched a truck with 30,000 kilogrammes of humanitarian relief to be pre-positioned in the state of Colima, in order to support the communities who might be affected by the hurricane. The Red Cross branch in Jalisco is also dispatching a truck with relief items to be pre-positioned in Puerto Vallarta. Medical supplies and logistical procedures are also in place and ready to be dispatched should the need arise. More than 500 Red Cross volunteers are on stand-by to assist with the distribution of relief items.

The branches from Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima are on high alert should any additional support be needed. Two intervention teams are also prepared to be deployed to the areas projected to be in the direct path of Patricia in Puerto Vallarta and Cihualtlan.

In Tomatlan, the Jalisco branch is in contact with the Electric Federal Commission in order to provide electricity support once the hurricane makes landfall. The Electric Federal Commission has dispatched 2,500 workers, 152 cranes, 15 all-terrain vehicles, 4 helicopters and 84 emergency generators to Jalisco, Michoacan, Colima and Nayarit to prepare for Hurricane Patricia’s impact.

For further information, please contact:

In Mexico

Rafael Gonzalez, Communications Officer, Mexican Red Cross - Mobile: +52 55 24 42 20 86 +52 55 24 42 20 86

In Panama

Diana Medina, Communications Manager, IFRC Americas region Mobile: +507 67805395 +507 67805395+507 67805395

In Geneva

Benoit Carpentier, IFRC Team leader public communications Mobile: +41 79 213 24 13 +41 79 213 24 13+41 79 213 24 13 41 79 213 24 13

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