Swalwell leads letter of 82 Members of Congress to Secretary Kerry calling for immediate removal of Americans stranded in Mexico by Hurricane Odile
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) led a bipartisan group of 82 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to take swift action to expedite the safe transport of Americans out of the Cabo region and back to the United States. Hurricane Odile devastated the area Sunday evening, leaving over 10,000 Americans stranded without electricity, a dwindling food and water supply, and little to no ability to communicate with loved ones in the U.S.
“Five days after the storm made landfall, the area remains in crisis and stranded Americans need our help. I have talked directly to trapped constituents, in terrifying conditions, who are doing everything possible to return home and coming up short,” said Swalwell. “After talking to the State Department yesterday, I learned they do not yet have enough resources to expedite the removal of shelterless, hungry, and scared Americans. I am asking Secretary Kerry to act immediately, using all means available, to deploy more resources to help Americans still stranded in the region. Let's move planes, ships, and people to help these desperate American travelers. Tropical Storm Polo is moving towards the area, making time of the essence.”
Swalwell spoke with a representative from the State Department on Thursday who confirmed that more than 1,000 Americans are still in the area. He continues to encourage constituents with loved ones stranded to contact him by Twitter (@RepSwalwell) or phone (510-270-3322) for assistance.
The text of the letter is below. A copyof the letter with the full list of signatories can be found here.
Dear Secretary Kerry:
We are writing to request your immediate assistance in helping those persons, including over 1,000 Americans, who are still stranded in Mexico after Hurricane Odile. As we write this, Tropical Storm Polo is moving toward the area, making the situation all the more urgent to address.
Hurricane Odile made landfall near Cabo San Lucas early Monday morning as the most powerful storm ever to strike the Baja Peninsula area. Its winds of 125 miles per hour and torrential rain devastated the region. Now four days after the storm, this area remains in crisis. Thousands of people, including many Americans, face being stranded without electricity or fresh water. Looting has also been reported.
We need further assistance from the State Department. Therefore, we would request you, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, work with Mexican authorities to address the situation in a number of ways.
First, we need to expedite the movement of people out of the region with any resources available. This could include air and naval assets.
Second, people who are stranded need to be able to communicate with friends and loved ones. This may require the repositioning of communications systems.
Third, there are not enough United States officials on the ground able to assist. In light of this, they need to move to where people are stranded and help those in need reach the airport.
Time is of the essence, and we urge you to work quickly to address this crisis.
Member of Congress