Tropical Cyclone Otis formed over the eastern North Pacific Ocean on 22 October and started moving north toward southern Mexico as a tropical storm, strengthening and becoming a hurricane on 24 October in the evening (UTC). Otis made landfall over the area of the coastal City of Acapulco and adjacent municipalities (Central Guerrero State, southern Mexico) on 25 October around 6.25 UTC, with maximum sustained winds of 270 km/h (Cat. 5 Hurricane).
The number of casualties continues to increase following the passage of Hurricane Otis over the coastal area of Acapulco City. According to the Federal Government, 46 people have died, while 58 others are still missing, and 273,844 houses have been damaged. The impact of Otis caused serious damage to infrastructure, affecting the social fabric as well as economic and productive activities. A significant percentage of affected population lacks access to basic services, including water, electricity and food.
As of 31 October 2023, 30 search brigades and 1,500 state workers have been deployed to support the response and recovery activities. (Gobierno de Mexico, 31 October 2023)
Mobilizing the Private Sector to Support Humanitarian Response
The National Center for Epidemiological Emergencies and Disasters CENACED, or Centro Nacional de Apoyo para Contingencias Epidemiológicas y Desastres), the Connecting Business Initiative (CBi) Member Network in Mexico, is a civil-society organization which convenes companies and civil society partners in support of disaster prevention and emergency response.
In response to Otis, CENACED supports the Government’s response by coordinating with more than 130 organizations and maintaining regular communication with the Federal Government through the National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC). The network conducts daily online coordination meetings to share information and inputs from organizations on the ground, as well as the needs of communities and offers of support from the private sector.
To date, CENACED has carried out field operations and delivered humanitarian support in four municipalities: Acapulco de Juárez, Chilpancingo de los Bravo, San Marcos, and Coyutla de Benítez. These operations are coordinated with the support of SEDENA, SEMAR, Civil Protection non-governmental organizations (NGOs) deployed on the ground.
To ensure efficient coordination, CENACED has established nine committees with designated leaders:
- Fundraising and Accountability
- Relationship with Government, Security, and Monitoring
- Communication (led by the Communication Council)
- Supply and Logistics (led by Fundación Origen)
- Livelihood Recovery
- Infrastructure and Reconstruction Evaluation (led by CEMEX)
- Health and Hygiene (led by Giant Foundation)
Through its intersectoral coordination platform, Unidos por Ellxs, CENACED is coordinating the support of over 130 organizations and businesses in Mexico, in a 3-stage strategy:
- 1st stage (2 days) – First response: focusing on restoring communications, mapping alternative access routes, deploying response teams and volunteers, and convening the private sector and civil society.
- 2nd stage (1-3 weeks) – Humanitarian assistance: channeling the efforts of the private sector movilizing humanitarian aid, coordinating collection centres, developing fundraising campaigns and mechanisms
- 3rd stage (> 3 weeks) – Livelihood recovery and reconstruction: the donations will be focus on recovering MSMEs, critical infrastructure, and education centres, among others.
Some response activities include:
- Through Unidos por Ellxs, CENACED allied companies and organizations have collected and distributed over 9,000 tons of humanitarian aid, including food, bottled water, hygiene and cleaning kits, among other things. Among them, more than 20 tons of hygiene and cleaning products and more than 40 tons of lime have been sent to disinfect public spaces.
- CENACEd has assisted more than 85 communities
- Allies of Unidos por Ellos have enabled 5 water treatment plants to produce more than 150,000 liters of water daily, and have sent 458 water tanks, 16 water purifiers that produces 40,000 liters of water per hour and 40 cisterns with a capacity of between 5 and 10 thousand liters of water per unit. With the aim of facilitating quick access to water, 988,000 liters of bottled water and 13,000 oral rehydration serum were sent at the beginning of the response.
- CENACED is managing logistical support (by land and air) for shipping supplies and evacuating people. The network has mobilized 79 shipments of humanitarian aid in trailers and planes thanks to the contributions of its allies. Unidos por Ellxs has enabled a 2,500-square-meter warehouse in Acapulco, with support from Fundación Origen and CADENA.
- In collaboration with NGOs in alliance with suppliers and local restaurants, Unidos por Ellxs has provided more than 5.3 million hot meals in 12 community kitchens and in over 100 restaurants
- 5 brigades comprising more than 2,180 brigaders, including psychological, medical, paramedical and cleaning assistance, have been deployed. These teams have been essential at the beginning of the response in search and rescue efforts
- CENACED is supporting 3 hospitals in Guerrero to provide more specialized medical assistance than primary care to the affected population, including over 12,440 medical assistances and over 20 ambulance transportation services. Some allies of the network have offered rapid primary care in various parts of Guerrero.
- Through Unidos por Ellxs, 50 chainsaws and 11 light generators of 150 kW has been provided
- Allies of CENACED are providing telecommunication equipment to restore communication in affected areas, such as routers for connectivity, cellular equipment, batteries, charging stations, and satellite connection points
- Fundraising mechanisms have been established with business allies and civil society organizations (two companies will match the donations received through CENACED)
- The Communication Committee is developing a common strategy and communication campaigns to disseminate information, request support from the population and avoid misinformation. The Communication Committee is working in collaboration with cinemas, radio, television, and people with extensive reach on social networks. A team will be deployed on the ground on 22 November 2023 to capture information.
- A workshop on the "Management of Collection Centres and Trailer Loading" was facilitated with Humanitarian Support for allies that are sending supplies
- Make a financial contribution: Corporate and individual donors are invited to contribute cash directly to CBi Member Network in Mexico, CENACED. The financial contribution can be processes through the webpage of CENACED: Donativos – CENACED
- Make an in-kind contribution of goods or services: CENACED and some of its allies have established various collection centres that receive in-kind donations. Find more information about collection centres in Convocatoria para activación de UXE por el huracán OTIS – CENACED.
- Volunteer to support: Through the page hacesfalta.org.mx there are options to support as a volunteer in collection center or others.
- Disseminate the work of CENACED