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Hurricane Patricia: vulnerable children at risk from landslides

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Save the Children aid workers remain on high alert to mount emergency relief efforts for vulnerable children affected by the expected flash floods, volcanic mudflows, and heavy landslides after the west coast of Mexico was hit by a hurricane on Friday evening.

Hurricane Patricia made landfall on the western coast of Mexico last night, bringing torrential downpours, surging seas, and cyclonic winds.

While the damage caused by Hurricane Patricia appears to be less than initially feared, Anthony Caswell Perez, Director of International Affairs at Save the Children Mexico, warns that the agency is still concerned for the thousands of families and children potentially impacted by the disaster, particularly isolated communities living in rural mountainous areas.

'We are now very worried about children’s safety in the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia, particularly those living in the path of flash floods and landslides, and expect that the worst affected families will face prolonged stays in very basic evacuation centres,’ he says.

‘Save the Children is ready and equipped to offer whatever assistance is necessary when the true scale of devastation slowly emerges after a terrifying night.

‘Although Patricia has dissipated somewhat upon hitting the coast, there are still extremely heavy rains and the risk of mudflows that could damage villages near Colima Volcano, around 130 miles (210km) from Puerto Vallarta where the storm first made landfall.'

At present, the most vulnerable areas are thought to be Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco, but the downpours accompanying the storm as it makes it’s way across the country remain potential risk factors in some other Mexican states.

On Friday, a coordinated evacuation of 50,000 people to over 1,800 emergency shelters was carried out across three states along the coast, and the Mexican Government today strongly cautioned people to stay alert, urging the thousands seeking shelter in refuges to stay where they are.

Save the Children teams are on stand by to distribute prepositioned stock in form of hygiene kits, emergency food rations, clean water, and temporary shelter, as well as providing safe, protected spaces for vulnerable families and children.

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