Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - It only took Tropical Storm Narda eight minutes to turn the coastal paradise of Yelapa, Jalisco, into a living hell as torrential rains caused the river to rise and leave extensive damage in its wake.
An estimated 20 million pesos (US $1 million) of damage was done to 300 households in the municipality of Cabo Corrientes, 100 of which are located in Yelapa, and at least 30 of the 1,500 residents in this quaint little village just south of Puerto Vallarta have lost everything.
Several long-time residents said they have never seen flooding like that which surged through the small town on Sunday. Espiridión Joya Ramos who runs the small restaurant next to the waterfall on the banks of the river with his grandson, said the flood swept everything away. "The water arrived just before it got dark, around 7:30 or 8:00 pm. I've lived here 49 years, and from what I can remember, there has never been flooding like this. The river burst its banks, taking with it houses and everything in its path," Joya said.
Another victim, Rufino Córdova, barely escaped the rushing waters.
"The river got really full and the surge, which was about a meter and a half high, was taking all the rocks with it... Here, where I live, I would have drowned, but I've got a couple of large rocks there that protected me," he said.
On Tuesday morning, families were trying to recover their belongings.
"It happened in the blink of an eye," said María Magdalena Lorenzo, who fled to the second floor of her house when the ground floor flooded. "In less than five minutes we were already flooded. We didn't have time to grab anything."
Personnel from the navy, National Guard and Civil Protection agency surveyed the damage on Monday morning, but left immediately thereafter. "The navy came, but they only checked for injured and dead," said Román Lorenzo, one of hundreds of residents who were removing wheelbarrows full of mud and debris from their homes. "We haven't received any help on the part of the government to clean up, but they have sent us despensas (food packages that typically contain such staples as dried beans, lentils, rice, pasta, and bouillon cubes)," he said.
Yelapa residents have been without electricity, drinking water, telephone and other services since Sunday. Those who have generators have been able to use them to charge their cell phones and call friends in Puerto Vallarta, who have sent food and supplies to the storm's victims.
Several community organizations, including the SPCA and the Vallarta Yacht Club, as well as Puerto Vallarta businesses, including La Palapa and El Dorado restaurants on Los Muertos Beach, Nacho Daddy on Basilio Badillo, and PVRPV on Lazaro Cardenas have been collecting donations, and seeing that they are delivered to our neighbors in need, all week.
So far, three tons of basic provisions have been delivered to Yelapa families, but the town is still in need of more, so everyone is encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, drinking water, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products to any of the donation collection locations mentioned above.
Source: Agencia Quadratin