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Mexico prepares for ‘potentially catastrophic’ Hurricane Patricia

By Oxfam
Residents prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia filling sand bags to protect beachfront businesses, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

With states of emergency called in numerous municipalities and coastal evacuations underway, Oxfam is poised to respond.

As Mexico braces for the fallout from Hurricane Patricia, a “potentially catastrophic” storm packing sustained winds of nearly 200 MPH, Oxfam is monitoring the storm’s advance and remains ready to respond.

The World Meteorological organization says Patricia is the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Eastern North Pacific and Atlantic regions.

The category 5 storm heading toward Mexico’s Pacific coast is expected to drop between eight and 12 inches of rain across the states of Nyarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero, with some areas receiving up to 20 inches, according to the National Hurricane Center. The organization is also warning of an extremely dangerous storm surge that will result in significant coastal flooding near where the storm’s center makes landfall.

States of emergency have been declared in many municipalities as tens of thousands of people were being evacuated from coastal areas and authorities closed the airports in Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, according to news accounts.

After making landfall, Patricia is predicted to weaken quickly as it moves over Mexico’s mountains. But the storm could trigger river flooding, landslides, and blocked roads—all of which can have a serious impact on people’s ability to continue making their livings.

Oxfam expects to send out an assessment team to evaluate the needs of communities and determine where we can best provide emergency assistance.

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