In the weeks following the strongest Pacific storm that made landfall in recorded history, those of us who were fortunate enough to be nestled in the Bay of Banderas, and surrounded by the ever-watchful Sierra Madre mountain range look back and take heed of what is, and what so easily could have been. The day that Hurricane Patricia was set to make landfall was a nerve-racking day of anticipation for us all. In between runs to the super markets to stock up on food, or runs to the gas station to stock up on fuel, a majority of us spent those long hours glued to either our televisions or our computers trying to catch every update on the impending doom that was slowly working its way towards us.
As with most devastating events, it did not take much to bring the human race together. Mexicans and foreigners alike have spent the weeks following the hurricane helping out those who were less fortunate than us. Many of the small communities just south and east of the protective arm of the Sierra Madres have faced many hardships in the aftermath of this monstrous storm. Because those of us in the Banderas Bay did not feel the slightest breeze during that entire day and night, it may seem that it is easy to forget that the most violent storm made landfall just miles south of us. It would be easy to just go on with the rest of our lives as if nothing happened. However something did happen, and the great people of Puerto Vallarta and its surrounding towns did not forget, but rather stepped up and took action to help those who were in the direct path of the storm.
The towns that took a direct hit from Hurricane Patricia span from Manzanillo, Colima to Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco and as far inland as towns like Mascota, Jalisco. Luckily, much of this area is uninhabited so the loss of life was very minimal. But, there was still loss of life, as well as destruction, which caused the people of these towns to lose their possessions as well as the places they called home. Even the most basic of necessities became hard to come by and things like fresh, clean water were in dire need. People like Robin O’Brien took matters into their own hands. She created the Hurricane Patricia Water Angels, which raised over $3,000 USD to help supply water filters to the people who were affected by the storm and needed clean drinking water. But she is not the only one! Many ordinary people became extraordinary by taking it upon themselves to create fundraisers and benefits to aid the victims of Patricia. Some of these fundraisers raised over $10,000 USD which was used partially to provide food, clothes, and medical supplies to those in need. However, after raising the funds, their work was not done. Many of these people made the four hour drive multiple times, to personally assist in the distribution of these items to locals and to do what they could to help clean up the debris and make these quiet villages livable once more.
Even the smallest of villages such as Quemaro and Melchor Ocampo were not overlooked, and help found them as well. Events were held in the Puerto Vallarta area so that the masses could attend and provide donations to the relief effort. Many US businesses with operations in Puerto Vallarta matched the donations given by individuals, to better help the relief effort. At Novamar Insurance Mexico we took it upon ourselves to gather what clothing and supplies we had available and sent them to our neighbors to the south. Truck loads upon truck loads of various supplies from tools to mattresses and bedding to basic first-aid kits were brought down day after day. It was not just humans that were being helped in their time of need either. Our helpless four-legged friends were also looked after and provided for as much as possible.
As time continues to pass, Hurricane Patricia and the Pacific coast of Mexico will slowly drift out of the forefront of the world’s mind, but even then, the relief efforts will continue to happen until the effected communities are back to full strength. At Novamar, we are proud to be part of such a wonderful community that is so quick to respond to the needs of others with an outstretched hand.