Hurricane Otis devastates the tourist coast of Acapulco

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Hurricane Otis, a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, has left a trail of destruction as it passes along the coast of Guerrero, on the Mexican Pacific coast, leaving more than a million people incommunicado between the cities of Acapulco and Tecpan de Galeana. The storm made landfall at 00:45 on Tuesday with wind gusts of 330 km/h, torrential rains and waves up to 10 meters high that exceeded the forecasts of the National Meteorological Service (which had predicted its magnitude as ‘category 1’), as well as the reaction capacity of the emergency services and the local population. After several hours without the possibility of communicating with the outside world, the images of devastation They have begun to arrive in dribs and drabs through social networks, revealing the true dimension of the tragedy.

The number of victims from the passage of Otis is still unknown. Officially there is none, but Rescue services have not yet managed to enter the most affected communities, whose roads have been blocked by floods, landslides and fallen trees. Acapulco has had the worst part, which was tourist mecca‘ of the country during the decades of the 70s and 80s, now in decline due to violence, has woken up completely devastated. Its main roads are blocked by fallen palm trees, electricity poles, traffic lights and debris and most of its shops and establishments located on the beachfront have been destroyed. The city has 250 hotels with a capacity of 20,000 rooms and, according to the Mexican Federation of Tourist Associations, there are currently around 100,000 tourists trapped in them, 95% of which are national.

As seen in images posted on social networks, the Hotel Princess, one of the most popular and exclusive in the city, has suffered serious damage. The storm has dragged several vehicles, furniture and debris into the lobby. Those responsible have confirmed that the damage affects 80% of the hotel’s infrastructure. Another of the iconic images of this disaster has been recorded in the shopping center Diana Galleries‘, located on the second line of the beach, where the strong gusts of wind have torn off the walls and roof. The city’s port has also suffered a lot of damage, with many boats damaged and out of the water. The balance of damage caused by Otis in the state of Guerrero is still uncertain, but the images coming from Acapulco suggest that they will be multimillion-dollar and will take a long time to repair.

The Highway of the Sun, As the popular road that connects Mexico City and Acapulco is known and that thousands of capital residents use every weekend to go to the beach, traffic has been interrupted at kilometer 360 due to falling rocks and dirt. The president of the country himself, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), has had to turn back at this point, when trying to reach the disaster area by car, despite repeated calls from the authorities to the local population to avoid it. . In a video released by MX News CentralAMLO is seen speaking with several workers who warn him that the road will take at least one more day to be cleared.

Given the impossibility of arriving by plane due to the floods, the Mexican president continues trying to reach Acapulco by land using secondary routes. He is accompanied by his Security Cabinet, made up of the secretaries of National Defense, Navy and Citizen Security and Protection, as well as the commander of the National Guard and the national coordinator of Civil Protection. The military vehicle in which they were traveling has been left stuck in the mud at kilometer 39, forcing the Mexican president to walk through the mud to change vehicles. While López Obrador continues to avoid obstacles to reach Acapulco, the Government has activated the relief plan for natural disastersknown as Plan DN-III-E, and has deployed the Army in the affected areas.

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