Acapulco, Mexico, Oct 29 (EFE).- Frustration and desperation were growing among residents of the city of Acapulco, five days after the devastating Hurricane Otis hit, due to the lack of food and basic services as Mexico’s president on Sunday called for them to act with “righteousness and order.”
People recover objects in a shopping plaza affected by Hurricane Otis, in the resort of Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, 29 October 2023. EFE/David Guzmán
So far, the emergency caused by the impact of Otis, which hit the resort of Acapulco as a Category 5 hurricane last Wednesday, has left 48 dead, in addition to 36 missing, according to reports from the Mexican government.
“I call on all the people of Acapulco (…) so that in these difficult times we continue to act with righteousness and order to organize ourselves so that basic needs are covered,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday in a video posted on his social media pages.
He also assured that “all economic, tourist and commercial activity will be reactivated soon” and announced that on Monday two undersecretaries of the Secretariat of Finance and the director of the Tax Administration Service will be present in the city.
In addition, he said he had invited representatives of the banks and the business sector, saying “we are going to do the feat, together, of putting Acapulco back on its feet, starting with its people, for the poorest and most needy.”
Since Friday afternoon, some 10,000 personnel from the Army, Navy and National Guard have sought to bring order to a desperate community frustrated by the lack of water, food, electricity, telecommunications and fuel.
People clean their house affected by Hurricane Otis, in the resort of Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, 29 October 2023. EFE/David Guzmán
In addition to monitoring and discouraging possible looting or criminal acts, the personnel work on removing vehicles, debris, poles, trees and other obstacles to clear the affected areas.
Five days after the impact, the death toll rose to 48, in addition to 36 missing, the government reported Sunday.
“48 people died. 43 in Acapulco de Juárez and five in Coyuca de Benítez,” a document distributed to journalists said.
Three hours earlier, Guerrero state governor Evelyn Salgado had told López Obrador that there were 43 deaths, in a preliminary figure.
In addition, she told him that they were working on “locating more people.”
The reporting of victims has been slow because the authorities have still not reached all the areas affected by the hurricane, after practically the entire South Coast of Guerrero was cut off for nearly 24 hours after the impact of Otis.
In López Obrador’s video, he said that all the heads of the Secretariats of State are at the destination, in coordination with the state and municipal authorities, “to restore, reestablish, put Acapulco on its feet as soon as possible.”
The president, who announced that on Sunday afternoon he would be in Acapulco for a new evaluation of the emergency, shared that the state Federal Electricity Commission has already restored 3,211 power poles of the more than 10,000 that the hurricane tore down and that “on Monday night they are going to have all of Acapulco electrified again.”
Meanwhile, the Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation reported that Guerrero’s highway network will be resolved Sunday and “the main toll and free-toll roads will be enabled, so traffic will be restored.”
The Secretariat of Tourism said that on Saturday the evacuation of some 12,500 tourists who were stranded in the three areas of the destination – Diamante, Dorada and Traditional – of which 98 percent were Mexican tourists, was completed.
The telecommunications companies Telmex and Telcel reported that the Telmex backbone network that provides connectivity to Acapulco is 100 percent restored and has a 41 percent progress in restoration in the Acapulco Telcel network, in addition to a 33 percent progress in the restoration of radio bases.
In less than 12 hours, Otis intensified from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane to become one of the most powerful in Pacific Ocean history. EFE