Vast destruction, 43 dead in Mexico after Acapulco hurricane
Acapulco was struggling Sunday to recover from the extraordinarily powerful Hurricane Otis, which claimed 43 lives and provoked widespread power, water and telephone outages.
The picturesque Mexican tourist haunt, which once lured Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley, had never experienced a Category 5 storm like Otis, which roared ashore Wednesday and made local landmarks built over decades look like they had been bombed out.
While the death toll continued to climb, some 36 people were still missing, authorities said at midday Sunday.
And a lack of phone signal has left frustrated survivors desperate to communicate with loved ones, with some accusing the authorities of an inadequate response.
The World Meteorological Organization has described the hurricane as "one of the most rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones on record," exceeded in modern times only by another Pacific hurricane, Patricia, in 2015.
The speed with which Otis intensified took the government and weather forecasters by surprise, leaving little time to issue warnings and prepare residents for its arrival.
As aid finally began to arrive over the weekend, initial estimates put the storm's damage at around $15 billion. Some 200,000 homes were damaged, with a number of restaurants and businesses in ruins.
A security force of some 17,000 was deployed across the area after reports that supermarkets had been looted.
Additionally, the Mexican army and navy established an air bridge to distribute humanitarian aid.
Thousands of liters of water and food supplies have been distributed in the resort city, home to 780,000 people.
The government had earlier said victims in need of specialized care were being flown to hospitals elsewhere in Mexico.
In 1997, Hurricane Paulina hit the Acapulco region as a Category 4 storm, killing more than 200 people.
© 2023 AFP