Hurricane Isidore damages Merida resort


MERIDA, Mexico -- The 40-room Hacienda Katanchel, situated about 16 miles east of Merida, sustained an estimated $1 million in damages from Hurricane Isidore, said co-owner Anibal Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said that several of the roofs were either blown off the resort's buildings or smashed by toppled trees.

"We built Katanchel in one year, but I promise to rebuild it in three months," Gonzalez said. "We will be open by Christmas."

Gonzalez said that eight guests, including four Americans, were at the resort as the hurricane rumbled through the area. He said they all were evacuated by the military to Merida.

"[The guests] were at the hotel until [Sept. 23]. They slept in hammocks in the main building and had food but no power," he said.

Gonzalez said the resort will refund guest deposits and will honor travel agent commissions.

"Katanchel is a source of revenue for the 100 families from the area who work there," Gonzalez said. "The monetary damage will be double when you take into account what we will have to pay the workers to help repair their homes."

In Merida, Yucatan's state capital west of Cancun, the storm shattered windows, ripped roofs and balconies off colonial buildings, toppled trees and downed power lines.

Merida Airport sustained $1.2 million in damage, but Merida's major tourist hotels were undamaged.

In Cancun, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya, rain and winds ruined beach vacations, but tourism officials reported no major damage or injuries.

Cancun Airport remained open, although some 90 arrivals and departures were canceled.

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