An American, a Canadian and a Briton are among the dead of Hurricane Otis which devastated the country. Acapulco on the Pacific coast in western Mexico, officials said. Monday the authorities who revised the balance sheet of 48 à 45 dead and 47 missing.
The three foreigners “were residents and not tourists in the port of Acapulco,” Guerrero state Governor Evelyn Salgado said during President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's daily press conference .
On Sunday, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that 263 foreigners were in the port at the time of the hurricane on Wednesday, including 34 Americans, 18 French and 17 Cubans.
The same governor contacted by telephone said revised downwards the number of victims.
“We deplore so far – according to the preliminary report of the prosecution – 45 deaths and 47 people have not been located”, declared the governor.< /p>
This latest report contradicts a press release from the federal government on Sunday reporting 48 dead and six missing.
The Mexican navy was carrying out rescue and search operations for those missing at sea on Monday, noted an AFP correspondent photographer.
“The updating is constant. It is being done with the participation of the state prosecutor's office (of Guerrero)”, specified the president.
As usual, he denounced the “manipulation” of most of the Mexican media, which he accused of be at the orders of his political adversaries to discredit him.
“They were like vultures looking for the dead,” he said of media representatives in Acapulco.
The president said he for his part “flew over” on Sunday Acapulco, where he visited Wednesday evening before returning to Mexico.
“We have been in distribution centers,” he said, detailing the relief operations.
Little aid – food and water – arrived Monday in Acapulco, according to the AFP photographer.
“We are looking for food, pancakes, water, diapers, sanitary napkins, because no help has reached our colony (neighborhood),” testified a woman at the information site Animal politico, which does not cite its name.
The hurricane, of maximum force 5, hit the city early Wednesday morning, devastating the seaside resort of nearly 780,000 inhabitants, which lives mainly from tourism. Stores and supermarkets were also looted while waiting for help.
– “It’s a disaster” –
Aid from the government and NGOs began to be distributed on Friday afternoon, after the reopening of the airport and the resumption of road traffic.
Acapulco devastated by a hurricane © ; AFP – Guillermo RIVAS PACHECO, Jean-Michel CORNU
In the meantime, residents organized themselves by calling on the solidarity of neighbors to repair and clean up the damage.
“In terms of aid, we haven't seen anything from the authorities,” Miguel Antraca, 60, who went to a beach to see his small business, told AFP in ruins.
It has already experienced cyclones, but never of this magnitude. “It’s a disaster, it had never happened before, the hurricanes were smaller,” he says.
From a simple tropical storm, Otis strengthened into a maximum strength 5 hurricane in just six hours off the Pacific coast of Mexico. It made landfall with winds of 270 km/h, and gusts of more than 300 km/h.
The damage caused by the passage of Hurricane Otis in Acapulco, on October 28, 2023 in Mexico © AFP – SALVADOR VALADEZ
The hurricane then weakened as it progressed into the hinterland. But heavy rains persisted in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, two of the poorest in the country.
The speed with which the hurricane formed did not give residents time to protect their businesses, homes and hotels, nor to stock up on water and food.
Eva Luz Vargas, 45, joined her neighbors to start picking up the debris. But this seller of products for tourists, married to a fisherman, is worried about the future.
“We want the government to help us because it's really serious,” she says.< /p>
Aerial view of the damage caused by the passage of Hurricane Otis in Acapulco, October 28, 2023 in Mexico © AFP – Rodrigo OROPEZA
The federal government counted more than 273,000 homes, 600 hotels and 120 hotels having suffered more or less serious damage. In addition, 12 highways and roads remained blocked.
According to the consulting firm Enki Research, specializing in natural phenomena, Otis caused damage amounting to approximately 15 billion dollars (14.20 billion euros).
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