The death toll and number of missing individuals from Hurricane Otis, a level 5 storm that struck Acapulco in the Mexican Pacific resort, has increased to nearly 100.
On Wednesday, Acapulco was hit hard by Otis, with winds reaching 165mph (266km/h). This caused flooding in the city and caused damage to homes, hotels, and businesses. Vehicles were submerged and there were disruptions in communication, as well as road and air travel.
As the city’s population of almost 900,000 grew more desperate for food and water, looting ensued.
On Monday, Evelyn Salgado, the governor of Guerrero where Acapulco is located, stated that according to state prosecutors, 45 individuals have been confirmed deceased and 47 are still unaccounted for. This is an increase from the 43 deaths reported by Salgado on Sunday morning.
On Sunday afternoon, Mexico’s federal civil protection authorities said there were 48 dead, consisting of 43 in Acapulco and five in nearby Coyuca de Benítez.
The government of Guerrero reports that among the deceased are a person from the United States, a person from Britain, and a person from Canada.
During a standard press conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke with Salgado on the phone to discuss the delivery of essential goods to the people of Acapulco.
It is estimated that the cost of damage caused by the hurricane could reach $15 billion. In response, Mexico has deployed 17,000 members of the military to maintain order and assist in the distribution of tons of food and supplies in Acapulco.
However, problems persist.
On Sunday afternoon, in the La Frontera neighborhood, a group of approximately 150 individuals formed a line to receive water from the local authorities. The line wound through muddy streets and residents, who were carrying empty containers, expressed frustration at the lengthy wait.
One of them, Emilia Rojas, expressed despair as she observed her surroundings, “There are so many of us. This water will not suffice.”
Perla Rubi, who was on a street close by, expressed discomfort with the lengthy wait due to the widespread desperation among numerous individuals.
She expressed concern about the increasing risk of robbery in the streets, as people have been out since 5 AM and are now vulnerable. She questioned the government’s lack of assistance in this situation.
Acapulco was hit by a disaster just seven months before Mexico’s upcoming presidential election. On Monday, López Obrador restated his belief that his critics were using the incident to discredit his actions and exaggerating its consequences for political gain.
The strong and contentious political attacks resulted in backlash, with critics accusing López Obrador of not taking the severity of the disaster seriously.