The Category 5 Hurricane Otis killed at least 27 people after slamming into the southern Pacific part of Mexico, leaving survivors emptying stores out of everything from food to toilet paper as they wait for aid.
The storm ripped into entire walls of beachside high rises in Mexico’s resort city of Acapulco on Wednesday, and left hundreds of thousands of homes without electricity.
Photos show the coastal city of one million is still in a complete state of chaos, despite hopes from locals of incoming aid.
Brown floodwaters extended for miles in some areas. Many residents were taking basic items from stores to survive. Others left with pricier goods, in widespread rampages through the area’s stores amid a slow government response, leaving many worrying that the focus will remain on repairing infrastructure for the city’s economic engine of tourism instead of helping the neediest.
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Acapulco’s police chief Luis Enrique Vazquez Rodriguez said Thursday that authorities could do little to stop people from emptying local stores or to speed up traffic caused by mud and fallen trees, which has left much of the city paralyzed.
“We don’t have the capacity to stop looting because there’s so many people,” he said. “This is a completely extraordinary situation.”
Dozens of desperate tourists, tired of waiting for buses out of the city, walked along the narrow sidewalks through the long car tunnel under the mountain dividing the port from the rest of the city, the Associated Press reported. They pulled suitcases and some carried children.
The president of the Mexican Hotel Association, Miguel Angel Fong, told the AP that 80 per cent of Acapulco’s hotels were damaged.
Some residents said it could take a year for Acapulco to recover; with no power, gasoline, little cell coverage and hotels wrecked by the hurricane, the task seemed impossible.
The Pacific storm had strengthened with shocking swiftness before slamming into the coast early Wednesday, prompting the Mexican government to deploy around 10,000 troops to deal with the aftermath.
But equipment to move tons of mud and fallen trees from the streets was slow in arriving.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador went by road Wednesday after the hurricane hit the iconic city on Mexico’s Pacific coast. At least four people remained missing.
Here is a look at the damage and the response so far.
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— with files from the Associated Press.
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