Hurricane Devastates Sister City

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By Jennifer Erickson | LB Indy

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association President Karyn Philippsen was on a plane returning from England this past Monday just as Hurricane Odile slammed the Baja California peninsula of Mexico, unleashing 125 mile per hour wind and rain on the tourist-thronged resort area.

She and 17 other emissaries had just sealed the deal with Laguna’s newest sister city, St. Ives, but their elation was short-lived when they learned of the devastation of San Jose del Cabo, Laguna’s second adopted sibling.

“It’s really bad,” Sister Cities member Ruben Flores told the City Council Tuesday in a plea for help. Flores, who also has a house in the affected area, said homes and businesses have been damaged, a water purification plant is offline, there is no cell phone service, and they lack cleanup infrastructure. “It’s really, really a shambles,” said Flores, who offered his Laguna Nursery, 1370 S. Coast Highway, as a drop-off point for relief items and checks.

Checks can be made payable to Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association (LBSCA), with “Hurricane Odile 2014” written in the memo section, Fabiola Kinder, another Sister Cities member and the San Jose del Cabo liaison, posted on the NextDoor.com neighborhood website.

Supplies needed include cell phone chargers, batteries of every type, flashlights, car cell phone chargers, iPhone chargers, cleaning supplies, bleach, trash bags, trash cans, dust masks, mosquito repellant, tarps, rope, saws, nails, hammers, tents, sleeping bags, camping supplies, and other similar items. Kinder notes that free labor from electricians, contractors and the like will also be needed.

The situation in the area is dire, says a Sept. 17 post by Gringo Gazette. Food is running out and stores have been looted, the Mexican government is airlifting more than 30,000 tourists to other cities and only government flights are allowed to use the Cabo airport, the post says.

The post finishes with this note: “You probably won’t hear from your loved ones in Cabo or La Paz until the power grid is restored, this doesn’t mean something bad happened to them, there is just no communication.”

“It’s a great example of how quickly we can lose communication,” said Philippsen.

 

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