CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto toured the area hit by Hurricane Odile in Baja California Peninsula on Tuesday September 16th, and announced three economic development programs for affected businesses.
The programs include up to a 100 percent reduction in income tax (ISR) and financing to free up cash for tourism businesses. Treasury and Public Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray said that credits up to 2 million pesos ($154 million) will be offered to the businesses affected by the hurricane.
The Mexican government began airlifting the first of tens of thousands of stranded tourists out of the hurricane-ravaged resort area of Los Cabos on Tuesday, as residents picked up the pieces of shattered, flooded homes.
The Interior Secretariat said military and commercial planes were carrying travelers out through the Los Cabos international airport, which remained closed to commercial flights due to damage suffered when Hurricane Odile tore through the area late Sunday and Monday.
Travelers were being flown free of charge to airports in Tijuana, Mazatlán, Guadalajara and Mexico City to catch connecting flights and, in the case of foreigners, receive consular assistance.
Officials estimated it would take two days to ferry out the 30,000 tourists who were being put up in temporary refuges or hotel areas converted to shelters. Some 26,000 of those were foreigners, primarily from the United States, Canada and Great Britain.
Thousands of people in the state of Baja California Sur remain without electricity, water or phone service. Homes, stores and resorts along the coast of Los Cabos’ famed hotel zone all suffered severe damage.
Farther south in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Polo formed off southern Mexico early Tuesday and was moving northwest parallel to the coast. The hurricane center predicted that Polo could become a hurricane later in the week.
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