Mexico is preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Delta, which could be “Extremely dangerous” when it hits the country Wednesday, October 7, forcing the authorities to deploy 5,000 troops.
Delta strengthened Tuesday in Category 4 on a scale of 5, and its winds are gusting up to 230 km / h, according to a latest report from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), based in Miami, Fla. . This is a “Category 4 hurricane that will be extremely dangerous when it hits the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday”, on the Atlantic coast of Mexico, warned the NHC.
The hurricane was located on Tuesday afternoon about 420 km southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and is moving at a speed of 26 km / h. The northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, like Cozumel Island, is on high alert. And the hurricane could strengthen further over the next 24 hours, before reaching Louisiana on Thursday night, the NHC warns.
Deployment of 5,000 soldiers
In this context, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ordered the deployment of 5,000 soldiers in this region. The troops, which belong to the secretariat of the navy, are executing the DN-III plan of assistance to the affected populations.
Although it is not expected to affect Cuba, the authorities in that country have issued a “Hurricane alert” in several areas, Cuban Civil Defense said.
This storm is occurring in a context that is further complicated by the Covid-19 epidemic that is raging around the world, and in particular in Mexico. Authorities in the state of Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located, said that as of 8 p.m. UK time, non-essential activities in the area were suspended. The governor of this state, Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, decreed the closure of the airports of Cancun and Cozumel from 10 p.m. (in France).
Also on the islands of Punta Allen and Holbox, tourists were evacuated. Visitors, fewer than usual due to the epidemic and many of them of foreign origin, have been placed in shelters provided by hotels in the region. The population was invited to go to public shelters, added the official. These shelters have been disinfected to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Residents were also encouraged to buy food and drinking water, as well as to collect important documents to keep before the hurricane made landfall. Fishermen in the region are busy securing their boats. The Yucatan State Power Company preemptively shut off power before the hurricane hit the area to prevent electrocution from falling pylons.
This situation is a further blow to Cancun and its surroundings, which had already experienced a dramatic drop in tourist attendance following the pandemic. Tourism represents more than 8% of the GDP of Mexico, the fourth country in the world most affected by the new coronavirus, with 81,877 deaths and nearly 800,000 confirmed cases.
Rains were heavy until Monday, when Tropical Storm Gamma made landfall last weekend, killing at least six people and affecting 600,000 more.