100 Dead or Missing in Mexico From Hurricane; Food and Water Worries Persist

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) —
A first responder works amidst rubble, in the aftermath of Hurricane Otis, in the Progreso neighborhood in Acapulco, Mexico, Monday. (REUTERS/Quetzalli Nicte-Ha)

The number of people dead and missing due to Hurricane Otis, a category-5 storm that hammered the Mexican Pacific resort city of Acapulco last week, has risen to 100, the government of the southern state of Guerrero said on Monday.

Otis battered Acapulco with winds of 165 miles per hour (266 km per hour) last 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.

The government of Guerrero, Acapulco’s home state, said in a statement 46 people were dead and 54 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 U.S. 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 that officials were not doing enough.

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

“It was really horrible,” Medina said. “We’ve already found the bodies of others.”

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