Sunday, October 23, 2005

6 Mexican Dead In Wilma, 7 Injuries Reported; And A Personal Reflection From Lorna Dee Cervantes

* Anyone with loved ones who are now refugees of Wilma, please tell them to stay where they are and wait for the Mexican army to do what they do best, evacuate them back home for you -- unless they have local Mexican friends who can drive or escort them directly to the airport. And to be patient, they are in good hands considering catastrophic damages to infrastructure.

We are also seeking information from or about Walter Hichens from Maine and his wife Beth who were just married and honeymooning at IBEROSTAR LINDO in the "Riviera Maya" before being invacuated inland on thursday night or possibly early friday morning. Any information at all would be appreciated.
UPDATE: We heard the they were moved from the hotel, Iberostar Lindo to the Convention Center. I'm not sure where, perhaps Cancun. Anyone with info, please get in touch. Their family is worried.

And scroll down to previous entries for more links to information from the region, particularly, Isla Mujeres.

This is what I've gleaned from the Mexican news sources and Reuters. As far as I can gather all of the casualties were Mexican citizens. Here are the reported casualties in the order of their deaths:

(Cancun?) Friday afternoon, Oct. 21 - One (1) woman (age 38) electrocuted wading home through downed powerlines.

[All electricity everywhere was turned off at the beginning of the storm; generators are turned on intermitently to pump water - PHONES GO UP DURING THIS BRIEF TIME. so stay near phones to receive calls when you least expect it. Most Cancun/"Riviera"/Yucatan phonelines are underground with damage limited to neighborhood or individual home lines subject to downed trees, etc. In Isla Mujeres flooding always presents a problem and phones & electricity are always the first things to go. Most hotels & establishments have their own generator -- these people are prepared! -- if they can afford it. Heck, after Gilbert, loved ones came home from Isla Mujeres to irritate their worried-sick loved ones with stories of never ending parties with all the wood-oven pizza, beer, wine, sodas or water they could eat and drink at the hotel that houses the original Rolandi's now known as Pizza Rolandi. No, your loved ones out in the out-skirts & humbler establishments are in very good hands, as well -- they are among AMIGOS. DON'T WORRY. Stay by the phone & don't jam up phonelines unless you have a direct connection to a local or loved one. I.E., Don't expect to speak to a hotel manager, and undertstand that the roads & sea will be impassable for a while, for those further south of Playa del Carmen, south of Tulum was not hit as hard as Cozumel, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, and, of course, Isla -- sorry reader, I have very personal interests there. I also know what's it like to go by someone's personal 4-wheel drive or by sea kayak, fishing boat, or 3-wheeled bicycle. From what I can gather from El Diario all three docks at Puerto Juarez, the main staging for transport to Isla Mujeres, were wiped out in a single mammoth wave. On the other hand, DON'T WORRY!!! There are still 9,000 very hardy or very experienced or very poor or very foolish and now wanting to be useful people left on the island and eye-witness reports from laptops say that people are able to walk through La Gloria where most of the people have gathered -- the highest point on the island with some of the sturdiest buildings and shelters. AND, THESE PEOPLE ARE PREPARED. And, they know how to fix things. And, they are the ones I am most worried about. Quintana Roo, the state that was carved out of the jungle in order to create "Cancún" /Kan Kun - The Nest of Snakes, is the third poorest in a poor nation despite bringing in the top national product in Mexico after oil: tourism. Your loved ones are safe. Despite the fact that the corporations operating in Cancun & the "Mexican Riviera" has stocked the staff with very poor uneducated (in comparison to the average male Isleño and Yucatec Mayan women under the age of 50) workers from Chiapas, Vera Cruz, Oaxaca & other poorer states, service workers who have no doubt fled; and the ones responsible for any foreign refugees from Hurricane Wilma will be trained locals. (Hey Teresa, too bad I didn't know you earlier, I would have advised your brother to wait til February or March for a picture wedding on the beach and a fantastically PEACEFUL honeymoon, and that mid-October up through the first week in Nov. is the worst time to go for hurricanes. HA!, understanding this is coming from a person who would have bought a ticket for this precise week to spend on Isla had I the ready extra for such luxury when I saw the fare. You know? If you have loved ones in Cancun or the "Mexican Riviera": Akumel or Playa, etc., DON'T WORRY! Yes, they are, quite literally, in the middle of the jungle. And, yes, there are cocodrillos, crocodiles in Cancun -- but they're small and tourists will be very lucky to see them. And, yes, there are wild monkeys all around Cancun, and birds, what little are left -- most flew away -- in the now completely stripped trees -- to mourn for. I am concerned for my friends, for the poet whose book I had just translated after about a decade's worth of work, Rafael Burgos Rios, 6th generation (at least, like me & california, from when does one count the generations on the same land when one is native to it?) Isleno who, more than likely, is there on the Island with his family. (If anyone has any direct communication to the island, please help me get in touch with the Red Cross, Claudia (from the "Bead Ladies") and the BURGOS RIOS Familia on 6 -- gosh! blanking on the name of the street! anyway, the house connected to the store & moto rental across from the clinic near the square. Also, I would like to contact Gustavo de Alba y familia, and Angélica, the woman who sells her handcrafts on Playa Norte. I have money I'd like to send them. And, remember, send cash via Western Union, best in these emergencies as loved ones and amigos can retrieve it any bank, post office, store, telegraph office in any city or state they may have been evacuated to in Mexico -- just fill out place retrieval, "Isla Mujeres" for example & include an identifying question; e.g., "Who are you and what's my favorite drink?" and an answer: "I'm Roberto from (X's) on Playa Norte and your favorite drink is a mango margarita." Or, whatever. Of course, you have a tracking number to give them should you be in phone contact or a full name should they have their voting card or other identification with them. And, I worry about all the ones who have nothing but each other and what they catch or grow with their hands and heart. BE PREPARED TO SEND MONEY TO MEXICO, if you've read this thusfar, that is. I'll be suggesting the best places for donations to Isla Mujeres, for one. JUST DON'T WORRY! Especially if you know your loved one is still there among "the locals" -- imagine, if you will, they are in the kindest small town you can think of, the oldest community, civilization, neighborhood you can think of, with the gentlest spoken, most family loving, stranger welcoming ways you can imagine. YOUR REFUGEES ARE IN EXCELLENT HANDS AND BEING CARED FOR BY GENTLE SOULS and the medical system in Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, etc., is one of the finest in the world, with an average of one trained doctor per 17 people, many trained in Cuba where, many do not know this, there is a world class medical system -- some working on a very promising cure for cancer from mangos. But, point is, I'm just posting out of 15 years exeperience in the region and among the indigenous peoples of the Yucatan. DON'T WORRY! I keep typing it to myself. DON'T WORRY. These people are prepared, and most of them, very kind and generous. And, watch your email for messages from loved ones, the area is either very unsophisticated -- in ways you might not think of -- or highly sophisticated when it comes to high tech gadgets and the latest in all means of communication. DON'T WORRY. We'll be seeing pictures very soon. Here's something comforting, weather engineers & scientists now want to study with Mexican geologists & engineers to build hurricane resistant stations, guages and monitors. So there! (just kidding, trying to cheer me up in the dark of brilliantly golden sunny fall day in Boulder.) DON'T WORRY. And don't believe everything you read in the papers or hear on the street.]

Now, back to counting and accounting for the Dead:

Playa del Carmen. Sat., Oct. 22, - Two (2) died of burn injuries suffered in the explosion and fire when a petroleum tank blew off in high winds and crashed into a hotel lobby and exploded, causing 7 other injuries, two reported tourists and some with only slight burn injuries which were treated and they were released.

Cancun? Unknown locations along the hiway. Sat., Oct. 22 - Two (2) men died of cardiac arrest clearing downed trees on the highway.

Unknown location, presumed Cancun. Sat. Oct. 22 - One (1) man killed when a tree or large linb fell on him.

REPORTED INJURIES: 7 minor and serious injuries suffered in Playa Del carmen gas tank explosion in a hotel; all others treated and released. See above, the "serious injuries" may have been related to the two who died, pesumably Mexican nationals.

That's, so far, 6 deaths and 7 injuries -- reported as of early this morning. I still haven't checked the boards, blogs & newspapers.

I feel so weird. Stolid. No feeling at all. Thursday, I was aware of a very very bad track -- recognizably bad track this hurricane was taking. In the morning I was excited about receiving & deliveried brand new cpies of my brand new book, still in the box.I feel so weird. Well prepared. I knew it was coming. i didn't build on my land in Isla Mujeres because I felt it coming. It's all about WATER. And balance.

I have no feeling. Not even to call it numb. I just want to do like a robot does. I just want to stick to the facts, whatever facts come in for the inevitable. I wish I had been able to organize a Love & Thanks to Water ceremonial cultural celebration for the island back in July 26 2003. But, that's death bargaining, the buried grief talking up through the mud. As tourists, we will need them as much as they need us.

One morning, friday, I was dancing in my dirty kitchen, waiting for my first box of 20 books to arrive at my doorstep. The shipment was delayed. Now, they're sitting on the extra office chair in front of me. I'm just noticing the label for the first time: DRIVE: THE FIRST QUARTET and CERVANTES on the side in big block letters for all the neighbors & mail carrier to read. Now meaningless. Unopened. Nothing in the world matters but that monster purple spiral with is single blue eye trained on the jungle, and now, back to us. Fort Meyers where a dear friend/ former lover/ fellow fine poet has moved back home to fish. I hope he has evacuated his many many unpublished, but fine, manuscripts of poems, poems about hurricanes, for one. I HATE HURRICANES! The Equal Opportunity Destroyer. The other side of Ixchel, She-Who-Brings-the-Waters.

I have no feeling. None. nothing zip zap I'm all numb limb. No feeling at all. I just want to do. Give me something to do, Dear Reader. I knew it was coming. Come to my house to grieve and greeze. Please. We can eat in the livingroom, my sala, and talk of dear friends in far away places, or home, a city on a blue bayou, a dock on the bay, or home, the closest place of all, which will now, no longer, ever be the same -- for all. Don't worry. No te preocupes. Tranquilo. Help is coming. Or, else it's there. And, Florida, get the ALL OUT NOW, what's a county jurisdiction when the eye is 35 miles across and the lowest gust is 100 miles per hour for TWO WHOLE DAYS!! Y tranquilo. No te preocupes. Todos 'bajo el Sol son nuestros amigos.


Blogger early hours of sky said...

Thank you, from what I can figure out from message boards, they may have been moved to the convention center. I still have not had any word from them.

23/10/05 13:10  

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