Hurricane Patricia Relief Initiative
Hurricane Patricia - a category 5 and the strongest hurricane ever recorded - hit Mexico on Friday, October 23, but didn't cause the catastrophic damage that many had anticipated. The lack of destruction is in large part due to the storm's record winds staying confined to a small area and hitting a relatively unpopulated region.
That's the good news.
The other news is that while the more populated coastal towns and tourist destinations were spared, still thirty-four municipalities were declared emergency zones. Busted rivers, downed power lines, flooded homes with the roofs blown off, tens of thousands of acres of crops, banana plantations and coconut trees flattened, roads collapsed and left impassable…
Two days after Hurricane Patricia made landfall, Waves For Water's first supported response arrived in Jalisco ready to provide access to clean water.
The initial objective will be to assess damage and gauge needs. As always in these situations, we must determine the best use of limited resources with an aim of helping as many people as possible and quickly.
Clean Water Courier Becky Mendoza, who had recently been to this region of Mexico with her project "Clean Mexi-Agua" was able to make contact with her local networks in order to gather quick intel and to have a place to start. Becky, together with W4W photographer Ethan Lovell, had communication with communities before even hitting the ground.
Strategy will be to activate existing networks and to develop networks in the new areas affected by the storm. Then, again based on limited resources, determine the most efficient way to maximize benefit from the clean water supplies. As each filtration system has capacity to provide clean water for up to 100 people per day, following a disaster some systems will be best deployed in a community setting. And when resources permit, we will strive to provide filtration systems to individual homes, especially when families may be too far or unable to participate in larger congregations.
So, phase one will be as much about implementing a first round of supplies while building networks and gathering on-the-ground information for smart strategy for all future actions.