Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Hurricane in Mexico: at least 27 dead, emergency services organize in Acapulco

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The damage done by Otis on the beach in Acapulco.

Agence France-Presse

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At least 27 people were killed by powerful Hurricane Otis which devastated and isolated the popular resort town of Acapulco, in southwest Mexico, where relief efforts are being organized on Thursday.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Unfortunately, we received a report from the state and municipal government reporting 27 deaths and four missing, said Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodriguez during the daily press conference of the President of the Republic.

The death toll from the force 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson scale, rose from 18 to 27 overnight, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said. /p>

Mr. Lopez Obrador went there Wednesday evening, after a journey of around ten hours due to landslides on the road.

What Acapulco experienced was disastrous, he insisted. This has no precedent in the country in recent times.

Most of the victims were swept away by the overflow of school classes ;water flowing through the city, said regional security official Ludwing Reynoso.

Airport closed, businesses gutted, looting in places, streets strewn with debris, muddy sidewalks, intermittent connection: Acapulco was recovering with difficulty on Thursday from the hurricane which made landfall on Wednesday shortly after midnight, with winds of more than 250 km/hour, noted an AFP team.

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Buildings gutted after Otis's passage.

Au In total, 80% of hotels were affected, the regional government said. The walls of several buildings collapsed in Punta Diamante, the most luxurious district of Acapulco, and one of the hardest hit as well.

Acapulco has a total of 20,000 hotel rooms, half of which were occupied when the hurricane made landfall.

The holidays turned into a tragedy for José Luis Flores, 72, a resident of San Diego, California.

We are disoriented, we have no contact with our children. We have no signal, he told AFP. We didn't eat anything.

On messaging services, discussion groups have been launched by families seeking news of their loved ones. Many groups are already saturated.

Mobile operator TelCel said it had restored nearly 40% of its services in Acapulco, Mexico. outside areas without electricity or those where infrastructure has suffered damage.

A humanitarian airlift will be organized with special free flights for the transfer of passengers, rescue workers, volunteers and food, said the national company Aeromexico.< /p>Open in full screen mode

An important avenue in Acapulco after the passage of Hurricane Otis

The Mexico-Acapulco Sun Highway has been reopened. According to authorities, a convoy carrying humanitarian aid left by road for Acapulco, a city of around 780,000 inhabitants.

Other accounts say a swollen river and collapsed bridges are isolating communities near Acapulco.

A lot of people got stuck on the other side in our village. The flood was high, said Israel Perez, a 21-year-old baker. People are left homeless, there is no electricity.

After making landfall, the hurricane weakened as expected as it progressed into the hinterland. Heavy rains, however, persisted in the states of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located, and Oaxaca, two of the poorest in the country.

Hurricane Otis formed in just a few hours Tuesday afternoon in the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the fastest intensifying hurricanes ever recorded, according to the International Weather Organization, a record only surpassed in modern times by the #x27;Hurricane Patricia in 2015.

Patricia hit the Pacific coast of Mexico eight years ago in October 2015 with winds gusting to 265 km /h.

Also classified as Category 5, Patricia is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the northern Pacific.

On October 9, 1997, Acapulco was hit by Hurricane Paulina, which killed more than 200 people. It was one of the most serious natural disasters in the country, excluding earthquakes.

Last week, Norma left three people dead a little further north, in the state of Sinaloa.

Mexico, open to the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico, is exposed to hurricanes during the season which goes from May to October-November.

Given the warming of the ocean surface, the proportion of particularly intense cyclones (category 4 and 5) expected to increase by 10% if we observe +1.5% warming compared to the pre-industrial era, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change .


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