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Monday, November 10, 1997 Published at 11:08 GMT

Despatches: Americas
Emma Patterson
From Mexico City

The Mexican authorities have begun evacuating people from the southern Pacific coast as they prepare to face their second hurricaine in less than five weeks. The government has issued a warning to communities in the area, many of which are still recovering from the devastating effects of hurricane Pauline which lashed the coastline last month. As Emma Patterson reports, the government's swift response this time around is a marked contrast to its much criticised handling of the hurricane disaster:

"The southern Pacific coast of Mexico is now bracing itself for more high winds and torrential rain as Hurricane Rick edges towards land. Small towns and fishing villages south of the tourist resort of Acapulco are expected to experience the full force of the storm. The US weather centre says winds are currently gusting up to 135 kilometres an hour. They're strong enough to bring down trees and power cables and cause minor structural damage. But the storm is far weaker than the devastating hurricane which struck last month killing more than 200 people. Then the Mexican government was strongly criticised for its failure to evacuate the area or to warn the thousands of families whose homes were washed away. This time the response has been far quicker. The interior ministry has described the new storm as extremely dangerous and has issued a maximum alert. Many of those living in the vunerable shanty towns above Acapulco have been moved back to the emergency shelters set up after the last hurricane. The bad weather is being blamed on El Nino, a phenomenon which involves the warming of the Pacific Ocean and has led to freak weather conditions throughout the world. In Mexico many communitities are still struggling to recover from the last hurricane. This latest storm will only compound the problems of restoring basic services to isolated communities along the coast."

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