Residents of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula have been surveilling the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Dean. The storm weakened considerably as it passed over land, but is expected to pick up speed again as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico. In the oil-rich waters, crude production has been suspended and tens of thousands of workers have been evacuated.
Glamourous tourist resorts such as Cancun were spared the worst of the wind and heavy rain, but more isolated, rural areas were badly affected.
“We lost everything,” said one fisherman in Majahuan, “Tools, boats, things for the restaurant. Everything.”
Those living in villages that fell under the eye of the storm are pleading for help in rebuilding.
“In just a few hours, everything was gone,” explains a local businessman, “We’re asking national authorities to give us a hand with loans and credit so we can get back on our feet.”
After killing at least 12 people in the Caribbean, Dean hit Mexico as a maximum category five storm but was later downgraded to category one. Locals had feared carnage similar to that of 2005 and Hurricane Wilma, the strongest Atlantic storm on record. Mexican President Felipe Calderon cut short a mini-summit with the US and Canadian leaders to visit affected areas. More than 70,000 holiday-makers were evacuated from resorts in Mexico and Belize. Despite Dean weakening over the last 24 hours, meteorologists are warning against complacency.