Hurri–cane Otis killed at least 27 people as it lashed Mexico’s beach resort city of Acapulco as a scale-topping category 5 storm, officials said on Thursday, in what residents called a “total disaster.”
The storm crashed into Acapulco with furious winds of 165 miles (270 kilometres) per hour, largely cutting off communications and road links with the region.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrived at the scene late on Wednesday, after his convoy found roads blocked by landslides and other debris, forcing top officials to abandon their vehicles and walk the final miles. The closures meant some residents slogged for hours through mud and debris in an attempt to find food and shelter.
“Acapulco is a total disaster. It is not what it was before. The park was totally destroyed, the buildings, all the streets,” said 24-year-old Eric Hernandez, who made the decision to leave on foot.
“The shops had all been looted, people were fighting for things. So we decided to walk as there wasn’t anything left there,” he said. Others said an overflowing river and collapsed bridges had cut off communities near Acapulco.
“A lot of people got stuck on the other side of the river in our village, which was overflowing a lot. People were left homeless, there’s no electricity,” said Israel Perez, a 21-year-old baker. Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez told a news conference that 27 people were dead and four were missing.
A convoy carrying humanitarian aid set off to try to reach Acapulco — home to about 780,000 people — by land since the airport was closed, authorities said. Otis rapidly strengthened to the most powerful category of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale before hitting land overnight Tuesday Wednesday, taking authorities by surprise.