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FOREIGN BRIEFING

After Dean, some damage

August 26, 2007|Diana Dawson

Hurricane Dean moved through the Caribbean and onto Mexico last week. Almost universally, airlines allowed travelers with flights booked during the post-hurricane cleanup period last week to change dates without penalty. Information about specific airlines' policies, deadlines and limitations is available on their websites. Here is a look at the damage left from the Category 5 hurricane:

1 Costa Maya, Mexico

The community built as a port for cruise ships in 2001 suffered major damage and will not reopen for six to eight months. Half the port's infrastructure, including the concrete pier and entertainment complex, was damaged extensively, area officials said.

2 Yucatán, Mexico

Because Dean skipped 150 miles south of Cancún, the prime tourist spot of the Yucatán, vacationers were returning to hotels and beaches within hours.

"Some trees and power lines were down," said Jorge Gamboa Patrón, director of the Mexico Tourism Board's Los Angeles office.

"But there's no damage to the infrastructure of hotels, to roads or to the beaches."

3 Riviera Maya, Mexico

Farther south, around Akumal, Tankah Bay and Soliman Bay, workers hauled fallen coconuts and rocks from the roads and swept glass from first-floor condominiums, where waves had pushed in windows. By the end of last week, most hotels and resorts had reopened.

4 Chetumal, Mexico

In Chetumal, the staff of the Holiday Inn pitched in to clean debris from the pool and sweep water from the lobby. "Trees have fallen in the streets here, signs are down and there is broken glass," said Sarahi Montoya, manager of reservations.

5 Veracruz, Mexico

In its last stand as a hurricane, Dean on Wednesday pummeled a 60-mile stretch of Veracruz state's coast as a Category 2 storm, peeling roofs and uprooting crops.

Communication with the state remained difficult the next day, but Veracruz Gov. Fidel Herrera reported "a tremendous amount of damage."

The area command center became Poza Rica, a town about 30 miles from the fishing and tourist village of Tecolutla. At the Best Western Poza Rica, one reservation agent said that most hotels in town were open and that electricity was being restored.

6 Belize

Most of the hotels and attractions reopened a day after Dean brushed the northern borders of the country.

By midweek, water, electricity and telephone services had been restored to the islands, but still remained spotty in the northern districts of Ambergris Caye, Corozal and Orange Walk, where some hotels also were damaged. All were expected to be open by today. The Belize Tourist Board suggests people check the status of specific hotels at www.travelbelize.org or www.belizeemergency.net.

Other areas

In Jamaica, which the storm sidestepped by 40 miles last Sunday, tourists last week could still see eroded beaches and logs on the roadside waiting to be removed. Only Jake's on Treasure Beach was closed for repairs -- to two suites until Sept. 28. "All of the other hotels are open, the attractions are operating and the hotels are running on their own power from generators," said Aloun N'dombet-Assamba, Jamaica's minister of tourism and industry.

The Lesser Antilles escaped major damage Aug. 17, when the eye of Hurricane Dean skirted between the islands of Martinique and St. Lucia.

-- Diana Dawson

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