Nearly 100 dead or missing in Mexico after hurricane


The number of people dead and missing due to Hurricane Otis, a Category 5 storm which hammered the Mexican Pacific resort city of Acapulco last week, has risen to nearly 100, authorities in the state of Guerrero said on Monday.

Otis battered Acapulco with winds of 266 km per hour on Wednesday, flooding the city, tearing roofs from homes, hotels and other businesses, submerging vehicles, and severing communications as well as road and air connections.

Looting broke out as the city's population of nearly 900,000 became increasingly desperate for food and water.

Evelyn Salgado, governor of Acapulco's home state of Guerrero, said 45 people were dead and 47 others were missing.

On Sunday, Mexico's federal civil protection authorities said there were 48 dead, comprising 43 in Acapulco and five in nearby Coyuca de Benitez. Among the dead are a US citizen, a Briton and a Canadian, according to Guerrero's government.

Many residents of Acapulco were still struggling to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives on Monday afternoon.

Sixty-two-year-old Rumualda Hernandez from the Renacimiento neighborhood a few miles back from the shore, urged the government to send help after walking 10 blocks from her wrecked home to get water from a cistern to wash clothes caked in mud.

"I was trembling with fear," Hernandez said, recalling how the floodwaters at her house surged above head height as the storm raged. "I thought I was going to die."

Fishermen and workers on tourism yachts gathered at Acapulco's Playa Honda on Sunday afternoon to look for missing colleagues and friends, worried officials were not doing enough.

Luis Alberto Medina, a fisherman, said he was searching for six people who worked in the harbour.

Governor Salgado provided updated figures on the phone with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who during a regular government press conference urged local authorities to ensure that basic goods were being delivered to Acapulco's population.

The cost of damage from the hurricane could climb as high as $15 billion according to estimates, and Mexico has sent some 17,000 members of the armed forces to keep order and help distribute tons of food and supplies in Acapulco.

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