Chabad representatives of Cabo San Lucas will stay in town to help locals following the devastation of Hurricane Odile. The Category 3 storm was the strongest on record to hit Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula late Sunday.
“It looks like the city was bombed,” said Rabbi Benny Hershcovich, Chabad representative with his wife Sonja, to Cabo.
When contact was lost with the Hershcovichs on Tuesday, family and friends grew concerned. Sonja is nine-months pregnant. But by Tuesday evening, contact was re-established. Absent electricity, water and access to basic necessities, Hershcovich made his way around the city to see how he could assist people helplessly stranded.
“The roads to the city are damaged,” says Sonja’s sister Dini Polichenco, of Chabad of Tijuana, Mexico, “the airport is basically closed down.”
Working with volunteers from the San Diego community, the Polichencos arranged for assistance, providing gas, water, generators, toiletries and food to be delivered from Tijuana to Cabo. “The immediate concern,” says Rabbi Mendel Polichenco, “is to deal with the basic needs of the community. What will be with the High Holidays is still unknown.”
While La Paz was also hit, it was not as devastating, so the Chabad rabbi there helped Hershcovich until the trucks arrived from Tijuana. “There were several mechanical issues,” reports Dini Polichenco, “but the truck is finally back on its way and will arrive by the morning in the city.”
Hershcovich is trying to locate people from his community. “He is organizing everyone and working to bring them together in one location,” reports his brother Rabbi Zvi, “and to administer to their most urgent needs, including medication and communications with families abroad.”
With Sonja due to give birth in a week, the Mexican military prepared to evacuate her from the city. In the meantime, the Hershcovichs have chosen to remain, helping the relief efforts.
To assist with relief efforts visit jewishcabo.com.