Mexico’s iconic beach resort, Acapulco, has been left devastated by Hurricane Otis, a Category 5 storm that wreaked havoc on the city with its powerful winds and destructive force. As the death toll continues to rise and the city struggles to recover, Mexico’s government has intensified its efforts to get Acapulco back on its feet. In this article, we will delve into the aftermath of Hurricane Otis, the extent of the damage, and the ongoing recovery efforts.
The Devastation of Hurricane Otis
On Wednesday, Hurricane Otis made landfall in Acapulco, unleashing its fury on the city and its nearly 900,000 inhabitants. With winds reaching 165 mph (266 kph), the storm left a trail of destruction in its wake, demolishing homes, hotels, and businesses. Power lines and communication networks were brought down, rendering the city incommunicado and isolated from the outside world.
Rising Death Toll and Missing Persons
The destructive power of Hurricane Otis has resulted in a significant loss of life and a number of people reported missing. The government has confirmed that the storm has claimed the lives of 48 people, with six individuals still unaccounted for. The toll has steadily increased since the initial reports, with 39 dead and 10 missing just a day before. The governor of Guerrero, the state where Acapulco is located, previously stated that 36 people were unaccounted for.
Government Response and Recovery Efforts
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has taken charge of the recovery efforts, mobilizing his cabinet and thousands of soldiers and police personnel to assist in the recovery process. The government’s primary focus is to get Acapulco back on its feet, starting with its people. President Lopez Obrador has expressed his commitment to leading the recovery efforts and ensuring the well-being of the affected residents.
Stories of Survival and Loss
Amid the devastation, stories of survival and loss have emerged, painting a vivid picture of the impact of Hurricane Otis on the lives of Acapulco’s residents. Captain Alejandro Cortez, who abandoned his yacht as the storm intensified, described the harrowing experience of facing waves as high as seven meters. While some of his fellow workers have been found alive, the search continues for others who are still missing.
Economic Impact and Damage Assessment
The cost of the damage caused by Hurricane Otis is estimated to be as high as $15 billion, according to initial estimates. The ministers of finance and the economy are set to visit Acapulco to assess the economic impact and provide necessary aid. The destruction caused by the storm is extensive, with 273,844 homes in Guerrero damaged, surpassing the number of homes registered in Acapulco in 2020. Additionally, 600 hotels and condominiums have been affected, further exacerbating the economic challenges faced by the city.
Criticisms and Challenges Faced
Residents in flooded areas have criticized the government’s response and the lack of assistance provided. Many are struggling to find basic necessities such as food and water. Blanca Estela Morales, a wheelchair-bound 52-year-old whose home was flooded, expressed her hardship and the difficult conditions in the government-run shelter where she sought refuge. The government faces the challenge of addressing these criticisms and providing immediate relief to the affected residents.
The timing of the disaster, just months before Mexico’s next presidential election, has fueled political tensions and accusations. President Lopez Obrador has accused his critics of exploiting the situation for electoral reasons and downplaying the gravity of the disaster. Former President Felipe Calderon has accused the current administration of attempting to rebrand private aid contributions as government donations. These political controversies add another layer of complexity to the already challenging recovery efforts.
Ongoing Relief and Recovery Measures
Mexico has deployed approximately 17,000 members of the armed forces to maintain order and aid in the distribution of essential supplies in Acapulco. The government’s priority is to restore basic services and amenities, including electricity and access to clean water. Efforts are underway to restore electricity to the city, with a target date of Tuesday for full restoration. The armed forces have also taken control of gas stations to prevent looting and ensure the safety of the residents.
The aftermath of Hurricane Otis in Acapulco is a testament to the resilience of its people and the challenges faced by the government in responding to and recovering from a natural disaster of this magnitude. As Mexico intensifies its efforts to rebuild Acapulco and support its residents, the path to recovery will be a long and arduous one. The unity and determination of the Mexican people, coupled with the support of the international community, will be crucial in restoring Acapulco to its former glory.