November 30, 2005 — By Reuters
MEXICO CITY — It will take a year to rebuild all the famous white sand beaches in Mexico's Caribbean resort of Cancun after Hurricane Wilma ripped them away last month, President Vicente Fox said Tuesday.
Fox said specialized technology would be used to pump sand from the bottom of the ocean onto the wrecked beaches.
He said it would be about a year before all of the beaches are back in shape, but the pumping system would be permanent and would allow for a quicker recovery whenever hurricanes batter the coastline in the future.
"They won't go back to being the way they are now," he told reporters.
Hurricane Wilma caused massive damage to hotels, beaches, stores and basic infrastructure in Cancun and along Mexico's "Maya Riviera" when it tore in from the Caribbean last month.
Cancun's main hotels are already working to restore their beaches.
Millions of tourists visit Cancun every year, making it the No. 1 attraction in a tourism industry that is Mexico's third-biggest source of foreign currency.
Fox said about 70 percent of Cancun's hotel rooms would be open again by Dec. 15, in time for the busy Christmas season.