Mexico deploys troops as Hurricane Grace makes landfall in southeast
Mexico City, Aug 19 (EFE).- Mexico has deployed hundreds of army and navy personnel to the southeast of the country as communities along the Carribean coast braced for Hurricane Grace, which made landfall Thursday.
The category 1 hurricane threatens to bring flooding as it sweeps over the Yucatan Peninsula, from where it is forecast to move across the Gulf of Mexico before making ground in central Mexico this weekend.
“Let everyone know that we are in position, that the entire government is ready to provide help,” Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, told a press conference Thursday.
Laura Velázquez, the national coordinator for Mexico’s Civil Protection agency, said: “We have to be very prepared, we have been for more than a week now, but today more than ever because it made landfall at 4.45am.”
She added that “intense” rainfall was forecast for Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo and “strong” rainfall in Tabasco.
The Mexican government identified 122,000 people living in at-risk areas of Yucatan state, as well as 34,000 houses, over 400 schools and nearly 50 medical centers, according to the national center for disaster prevention (Cenapred).
The Civil Protection agency said it had prepared enough shelters in the affected region to house 650,000 people.
The army activated the deployment of 429 soldiers and 40 military vehicles while the Navy deployed 341 personnel, 32 vehicles and five planes.
More than 1,200 electricians have been sent to strategic points in southeast Mexico in case the adverse weather leads to power outs.
Hurricane Grace is forecast to bring winds of 130km/h with gusts of up to 155km/h.