Three foreigners among Mexico hurricane dead

144

Three foreigners were among at least 45 people killed when Hurricane Otis lashed Acapulco last week, authorities said Monday, as Mexico’s president promised to put the devastated beachside city “back on its feet.”

The foreign victims — from the United States, Britain and Canada — were residents of Acapulco, Evelyn Salgado, governor of the southern state of Guerrero, told reporters.

The latest toll given by Salgado was slightly lower than the 48 deaths reported by the government on Sunday.

She said that 47 people were still unaccounted for.

According to Mexico’s foreign ministry, 263 foreigners were in Acapulco when Otis slammed into the coast early Wednesday as a scale-topping Category 5 hurricane — including 34 Americans, 18 people from France and 17 from Cuba.

Once a playground for Hollywood stars, Acapulco’s reputation has been tarnished by drug cartel-related violence in recent years, though it had continued to lure Mexican visitors and some foreigners.

Frustrated survivors, who for days were unable to communicate with relatives to let them know they were safe, have accused authorities of an inadequate response.

“We haven’t seen anything from the authorities,” said Miguel Antraca, whose small beachside business was left in ruins.

The 60-year-old had experienced storms before, but never of the same magnitude, he said.

“It’s a disaster,” Antraca added.

The government said that thousands of liters of water and food supplies have been distributed in the resort city, home to 780,000 people.

Thousands of soldiers have been deployed as part of the relief effort.

“We’re going to put Acapulco back on its feet,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at his daily news conference.

The left-wing populist, who frequently criticizes Mexican media, accused the press of “manipulation” in its coverage of the disaster, saying: “They were like vultures looking for the dead.”

Search operations

The Mexican navy carried out search operations for people missing at sea, according to an AFP photographer.

Otis smashed into the port city early on Wednesday with winds of 165 miles (270 kilometers) per hour, leaving a trail of destruction.

The storm severely damaged or destroyed many buildings and led to power and communication outages.

Supermarket shelves were quickly stripped bare in a wave of looting.

The World Meteorological Organization has described Otis as “one of the most rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones on record.”

The speed with which it intensified took the government and weather forecasters by surprise, leaving little time to issue warnings and prepare residents for its arrival.

As aid trickled into Acapulco, Eva Luz Vargas joined her neighbors picking up debris left by the storm.

The 45-year-old usually makes a living selling goods to tourists, while her husband is a fisherman.

Now she worries what the future holds for them.

“We want the government to help us because it’s really serious,” she said.

Previous article3 astronauts return to Earth after 6-month stay on China’s space station
Next articleIsraeli forces battle Hamas around Gaza City

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here