DESTINATIONS

Rebuilding Los Cabos: Odile relief funds

September 25, 2014
Sea of Cortez
Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez

A partial list of Odile relief funds to help rebuild Los Cabos

Forgive me. I’m writing with my heart and not my head. I’ve been so very sad about the devastation of Hurricane Odile, the worst hurricane to hit Los Cabos in the past 40 years.

When we began visiting Los Cabos about a decade ago, we felt like we had found Paradise. Coming from the Northeast, we relished the predictably near-perfect weather and beautiful terrain—devoid of the humidity of the tropics. But most of all, we appreciated the hospitality of the hard-working locals who always made us feel welcome and shared their pride in their work, their culture, and their country.

On September 14, 2014 tropical storm Odile barreled into the Baja peninsula leaving a path of unprecedented destruction wreaking havoc on hotels, homes, bridges; flooding roads and whole neighborhoods; and decimating concrete structures that had seemed impenetrable. Along with local people—the vast majority of whom worked in the hospitality industry—more than 30,000 tourists were left stranded.

The Cat-3 storm left Los Cabos with no running water, no electricity, no cell phone service, limited medical care, long gasoline lines, closed banks and no ATMs. The international airport closed, so badly damaged that it won’t be fully operational until the end of November. Because Los Cabos is geographically separated from mainland Mexico, it was difficult to mobilize help quickly.

With high surf, rain and 135 MPH winds pummeling the region, windows and doors shattered, crashing to the ground, and roofs were ripped to shreds. Rationing of food and water began as store shelves emptied. In some cases there was looting; in others, supermarkets and big box stores opened their doors to all takers because the needs were so great. One news report said it took only hours for the hurricane to destroy what had taken 25 years to build.

Over the past week, most of the remaining tourists were evacuated by military and commercial carriers; many returning with harrowing tales. Remarkably, so far, only five deaths have been directly associated with the storm. More than 100 injuries were reported, mostly from cut glass.

Sitting here in my comfortable home with every creature comfort, it’s hard to imagine the desperation of all of those who are left with little or nothing. Yet the several friends I spoke to on the ground are optimistic they will recover and rebuild before high season this year. With so much need across the world, it’s easy for the story of Odile to become yesterday’s news.

Several relief funds have been established to help people take back their lives and return to their livelihoods. If you have ever spent any time in Los Cabos, I hope you will consider making a small donation to one of the relief funds listed below. If you know of others, I’m happy to add them to this list.


Odile Relief Funds 

Screenshot - Solmar Foundation

Screenshot – Solmar Foundation

Bisbee’s Cabo Relief Fund

To provide food, shelter, education, and help sport fishermen get back on the water to support their families

Mexican Red Cross

To provide humanitarian disaster relief

Grupo Questro Hurricane Odile Relief Fund

Set up by the luxury real estate company to support their employees who lost their homes or suffered severe damage from the storm

United4Baja

To create awareness of the need for donations amongst the media, celebrities who visit Baja, and food and produce manufacturers

The Solmar Foundation

To support relief efforts in Cabo and the local community

Amigos a Amigos Hurricane Odile

Set up by the Rotary Club of Los Barriles Cabo Este to raise money for supplies to assist locals in rebuilding homes and bringing life back closer to normal

Baja California Disaster Relief Fund

The International Community Foundation (ICF) is partnering with on-the-ground relief organizations, including the Mexican Red Cross, and their grantees throughout the region

Cabo Strong

People who live in Cabo reach out to help the people and animals left behind

Cabo Villas Beach Resorts & Spa

To help employees rebuild their homes and their lives

Cabo Relief Fund

Administered by Holding Hands Charities out of San Diego, donations go towards helping those in need in Cabo with supplies and by working with other organizations.

Other resort-specific relief funds

Hotel Chatter, an industry site, has a list of websites where donations can be made to assist employees of specific resorts including Las Ventanas, Capella Pedregal, Hilton Los Cabos, Esperanza Resort, and Pueblo Bonito Resorts

N.B. Unfortunately, whenever disasters occur anywhere, scammers come out of the woodwork. To the best of my knowledge, these are reputable funds. Before making any donations, do your own due diligence to check into any sponsoring organization.



Watch this video on YouTube
The New Dawn: San Jose del Cabo after Odile

For more information on the rebuilding of Los Cabos:

The CaboVillas.com blog (a company specialized in villa and resort rentals) has maintained an excellent list with up-to-date information on the opening dates of various resorts in Los Cabos. The most important way for travelers and travel writers to help is to plan their next visit to the wonderful region and help restore its economic vitality.

Please feel free to reprint, tweet or share this post.


[This article was also published in the Huffington Post on September 26, 2014.]

This post is part of a LinkUp to Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Discovery.

  • Reply
    Jimi sparlin
    September 25, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Hola – This is very well-done to help educate those of us back in US who just barely were aware of this storm, and certainly not the extent of damage to Los Cabos. I will be making a contribution. Buena Suerte in rebuilding efforts!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 25, 2014 at 9:43 am

      If one more person knows, that is great! Thanks so much for your support.

      • Reply
        Rob LaBreche
        September 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        Irene,

        Thank you so much for writing the article. I am hoping you would add our charity to the list. It is called the Cabo Relief Fund and it is being administered by Holding Hands Charities out of San Diego. It is a 501 (c) 3 charity and 100% of donations go toward helping those in need in Cabo. We have already sent down supplies and working with other organizations in order to insure that funds go to the most urgent causes. If you have any questions, please let me know.

        • Irene S. Levine
          Reply
          Irene S. Levine
          September 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm

          I’ve added it to the list, Rob. Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of the people in Los Cabos!

  • Reply
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    September 25, 2014 at 9:35 am

    We lived on Padre Island off the coast of Texas for 10 years and I can remember preparing for each hurricane season and actually putting hurricane shutters up on our house twice during that time when evacuation was recommended. After hurricane Ike decimated Galveston in September of 2008 we watched the wreckage come ashore on our island and along the 80 mile stretch of Padre Island National Seashore for weeks after. It was truly horrific to see the devastation a hurricane can cause. My sympathy to you and your many friends in Los Cabos.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

      As you point out, it’s so hard to imagine unless you have seen a place before and after.

  • Reply
    Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel)
    September 25, 2014 at 10:44 am

    A very comprehensive list Irene and a valuable resource. Hurricane Carlotta which hit Puerto Escondido in 2012 caused an incredible amount of devastation and was a category 2, so I can imagine how extensive the damage must be in Los Cabos after a category 3. Thanks for bringing attention to ways people can help.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 25, 2014 at 10:49 am

      I was kind of amazed that I wasn’t able to find a list like this any place else!

      Thanks for the sympathetic ear….having witnessed destruction in your little corner of Paradise:-)

  • Reply
    Leigh
    September 25, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Our neighbour got home one day before the storm and had just finished building a place last year.She is still reeling. What a tragedy for these people. Thank you for pointing out how bad the devastation was as we didn’t get very good coverage.
    I usually give to the Red Cross in these circumstances as they always seem to have a foot in the door and I think dispense their funds wisely.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 25, 2014 at 10:56 am

      I’m hoping we’ll be able to return in January.

  • Reply
    Johanna
    September 25, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Well done for using your blog for humanitarian effort Irene 🙂

  • Reply
    santafetravelers
    September 25, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. It’s important to get the funds to rebuild. Hopefully, they can go back to somewhere near where they were.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    September 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I’m glad you wrote this as I knew virtually nothing of the devastation caused by hurricane Odille. I have not been there and visiting sounds fabulous and fun. The fact that I’m helping the people and the animals of the area would make the trip worthwhile. Thank you for educating us.

  • Reply
    Susan
    September 25, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I love Cabo, but hate watching the news so really appreciate this info

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    September 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    We too were very saddened to hear about the devastating loss the local people have suffered in Cabo. As you know, we share your love for this friendly sun-and-sand Mexican destination! The people are resilient though, and one of the best ways to help the area recover is to visit Cabo when the resort is ready – and spend your tourist dollars there :-). We bet the place will be ready to welcome people back by the end of October, and everything should be more or less right by the time Xmas rolls around…

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Yes, the most important thing we can do is support the destination and the people who make it so special!

  • Reply
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    September 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    What a wonderful way for you to blend emotion and energy by compiling this list. You’re right, I’ve not encountered anything similar. Will spread the word on social media for those who would like to help. Exposure for natural disaster relief can be so hit and miss. I’m sure your effort will ripple more than you know.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Thanks so much to Betsy and others for sharing this information with your followers!

  • Reply
    Muza-chan
    October 14, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Beautiful…

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