On September 15th, 16th and 17th the State of Guerrero, including Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, was hard hit by Tropical Storm “Manuel. The area also received heavy rains in October from Hurricane “Raymond.” While most tourist facilities are now operating normally, many agricultural products were devastated by floods and the local fishing industry has been negatively impacted.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, in a meeting with state officials last month, reported that approximately 196,500 hectares of land planted with corn, beans, coconut, mango, papaya and various other agricultural products were destroyed by the storm, which is about 40% of the entire planted land in the state. Virtually, the entire corn crop in the state was destroyed. Many farmers lost their plots entirely. Many livestock drowned.
According to the President, an estimate of 10,847 homes in the state were destroyed or seriously damaged; 48 points in the interstate highway system were damaged; six major bridges collapsed entirely; 759 schools were affected; and 96 health units were damaged, 23 of them are a total loss.
Zihuatanejo’s Mayor Eric Fernández Ballesteros reported that the city’s water supply system was damaged; 29 schools were damaged; 16,000 residents suffered damages to their homes, shops and restaurants; and more than 2,532 hectares of crops were damaged.
President Enrique Peña Nieto (right) visited Zihuatanejo and met with Mayor Eric Fernández Ballesteros to assess the damage from Tropical Storm “Manuel”.
Following the Tropical Storm, the Interstate Highway that connects Ixtapa Zihuatanejo to several major cities within Mexico was temporarily closed due to damages. According to the City of Zihuatanejo’s Tourism Department, approximately 5,000 tourists, who traveled to Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo by land, were stranded several days until the highways re-opened. Tourism was at a historic low during the weeks immediately following the storm.
The turbulent weather also caused instability in Zihuatanejo’s fishing industry, having a negative impact on another 800 local families, according to municipal reports. The Port of Zihuatanejo has been closed several times in recent weeks due to the weather, which stops the work activities and incomes of local fishermen who support their families.
In addition, the tropical rains have enriched the waters with nutriments for the local marine life, which is abundant during this season. When the weather permits, and the port is open, the fishing is very good. But, since the bad weather and highway closures have resulted in lower tourism this season, the demand for fish is down, which drives the down the prices and incomes for the industry.
“The people of Guerrero have shown great strength and great courage to overcome this adversity,” said President Peña Nieto, who recognized the thousands of Mexicans who showed solidarity to bring humanitarian aid to the collection centers set-up throughout the country. The President reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to support reconstruction in the state.
In Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Cruz Roja Mexicana (the Red Cross), several schools and businesses, and many residents organized fundraisers and donations of food, clothing, medical supplies and other items for those suffering from damaged caused by the rains. The government also offered reduced-interest loans to medium and small businesses that suffered damage.
Despite the outpouring of help, Tropical Storm “Manuel” has had a severe economic impact on many families in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and its surrounding areas who live off of the land and the sea.
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: