On Sunday, Mexico intensified its relief efforts to assist the residents of Acapulco, which had been struck by Hurricane Otis earlier in the week. This unprecedented Category 5 storm inflicted severe damage on the renowned beach resort. The number of casualties is still increasing, with government reports indicating that 48 people have lost their lives, and six individuals are unaccounted for. Just one day prior, the death toll stood at 39.
The hurricane ripped through Acapulco destroying homes, hotels and businesses with winds gusting up to 165 mph (266 kph), it also downed power lines and communications that left most of city’s 900,000 inhabitants without means of communication.
In light of scarcity of food, water and fuel, looting has broken out in the city.
Reuters said that governor of the state where Acapulco is located said 36 people were unaccounted for.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the majority of his cabinet minister were either already in or travelling towards Acapulco. He added that he himself would return to the city later in the day in order to lead recovery efforts. Thousands of soldiers and police personnel have already been deployed in the city to help people.
“We’re going to get Acapulco back on its feet, starting with its people,” he said in a video on social media.
The bay was filled with debris of dozens of pieces of broken boats. Smashes yachts and dinghies could be seen piled up on the shore.
Captain Alejandro Cortez, 66, abandoned his yacht when he saw the hurricane picking up speed.
“We ran, we jumped down, and we left the ship all alone,” he recounted from a pier where he gazed at the water, remembering waves seven meters high.
“And that’s why I’m sitting here now. God gave me that decision,” he added, pointing upward. Some fellow workers turned up alive, but the search is ongoing for others, he said.
“There are many people that still haven’t been found.”
Cortez was quoted by Reuters.
Estimates suggest that cost of the damage from the hurricane is as high as USD 15 billion.
Residents in flooded areas have criticized the lack of government help. Many are struggling to find food and water.