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Hurricane Patricia Weakens After Landfall In Mexico


Patricia is moving over Mexico, downgraded from the most powerful hurricane ever recorded to a tropical depression. She was less damaging than expected. Hurricane force winds were spared to the coastal cities like Puerto Vallarta. Daniel Lozano, the director general of the Mexican Red Cross, is overseeing the emergency response. He joins us from Mexico City now. Mr. Lozano, you must be very busy. Thanks very much for being with us.

DANIEL LOZANO: Thank you, Scott. It's a pleasure to be with you and the audience.

SIMON: Can you tell us what's going on there now?

LOZANO: Well, as you mentioned, fortunately the hurricane downgraded very fast and we were expecting a greater impact in several cities and communities of Jalisco, Colima and the states around that area. But fortunately no major damages have been registered so far.

SIMON: Where does the damage seem to be greatest, Mr. Lozano, and where do you have to concentrate your efforts?

LOZANO: Well, at this point, we have a large team on-ground doing the assessment of the damages, mainly - not only in the major cities that we've confirmed that there are no major damage but also in the communities in the rural areas close to the major cities. And it's a bit difficult for them to reach those communities due to the heavy rain and the flooding in some roads. So we are expecting to have more information in the next one or two hours.

SIMON: And what kind of emergencies do you have to prepare for, particularly if you get into some of the remote mountainous communities?

LOZANO: Well, due to the floods, some - probably some falling of the land and some mud that has been moving into the communities might be some of the situations that we might encounter there. And probably some roads that have been damaged and we will not be able to cross easily. So we expect probably some impacting in some households of those communities. So we still have to confirm that.

SIMON: And when remote communities, mountainous communities, have to contend with flooding or worry about mudslides, can that interrupt, let's say, the food supply and create medical problems, too?

LOZANO: Absolutely, yeah, that's one of the consequences that we might face. We have been collecting some humanitarian aid in different points of Mexico, so we are ready to distribute food or even, if needed, some medicine to those communities. But at this point, we are collecting particularly food and some cleaning - personal cleaning supplies.

SIMON: Mr. Lozano, in the 30 seconds we have left, do you think the Mexican governments involved, both provincial and federal and, for that matter, your agency, were prepared for this?

LOZANO: Yes, we have a very close and very strong collaboration with the federal government and civil protection. And to be honest with you, we reacted since Wednesday and Thursday morning. We mobilized a large number of people from the Mexican Red Cross. More than 500 volunteers are in the area. So we've been working with the population there to be able to alert them and move them into safe places, in the shelters. So I think that's part of, let's say, success so far in having impact in human lives.

SIMON: Daniel Lozano of the Mexican Red Cross, thanks very much for being with us.

LOZANO: Thank you, Scott. Thank you very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nathan Rott is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where he focuses on environment issues and the American West.