The Diario de Yucatan says that as the hurricane is leaving, thousands of residents are coming out of their shelters to survey the damage. What they are finding are roads that are cut off, no light or telephone service and some looting in the tourist areas. Thankfully, with more than 70,000 people in shelters, including thousands of tourists, there were only 8 deaths recorded so far due to the hurricane.
Still, the result of Hurricane Wilma is a disaster in Cozumel, Cancun and Isla Mujeres and people are urged to remain calm. The article says that the three levels of government, federal, state and local, will now begin to come in and distribute food, water and supplies. And based on our experience with the last hurricane, Isidore, they will be there in force. All the survivors on the mainland are urged to remember that though things are bad, the isolated communities on the islands off the coast have been through much worse.
In Cancun, the roads are impassable still due to downed power poles, power lines and trees. And the famous Zona Hotelera is still inundated with water. The entire state of Quintana Roo is without power and the airport in Cancun is closed. Vicente Fox will be visiting later today and he will be flying into Chetumal, about 200 miles to the south of Cancun.
The road between Coba and Tulum is reported to be impassable at this time. The priority at this time, according to the governor, is to reestablish communications with Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. Initial reports are of at least four people dead in Cozumel (this is included in the total of 8 people cited above).
In another article, a witness in Cancun is quoted as saying that it looks like a giant stepped all over the city. The article says that everyone agrees that Wilma was worse than Hurricane Gilberto in 1988 and that the area between Cabo Catoche and Playa del Carmen (about 200 km long) looks like a big lake.
In Playa del Carmen, people are telling stories of spending the night sleeping on tables to be above the water. The water is starting to recede now, but of course, now come the thoughts of how to replace everything that was damaged. The authorities are saying “Now is the time to start rebuilding” but the people are looking overwhelmed and wondering where to start, according to the article.
In Cancun, the destruction is overwhelming. The article quotes an owner of a restaurant in the hotel zone as saying that he is afraid to even starting to take account of the damage. The entire bottom floor of his restaurant was flooded and all the windows were shattered.
It sure doesn’t sound good…