Acapulco, Mexico (EFE). –
The Mexican Army has taken control of Acapulco, taking over the tasks of repair and aid delivery after the looting and chaos left after the devastating passage of Hurricane Otis.
Otis, a category 5 cyclone and one of the strongest in the history of the Mexican Pacific coast, has so far left 39 dead, 10 missing persons, dozens of injuries and extensive material damage.
The Armed Forces are trying to restore order and provide water and food to a population in despair, grief and anger due to the total or partial destruction of their homes and workplaces, the lack of supplies and the slow arrival of aid.
Solving these problems in a devastated city of about 800,000 people, according to the 2020 census, with about 400,000 damaged homes, will not be an easy task.
“We are doing things in an organized way, trying to ensure that there is order and that there is no theft, this is a matter that we will continue to address,” said the President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Saturday in a report with the National Emergency Committee (CNE), made up of the heads of various government agencies.
From the first hours, the residents and tourists stranded in the port knew that difficult times were ahead due to the lack of electricity, telephone and Internet services, added to the lack of transportation due to the shortage of gasoline and the blockage of roads caused by landslides.
It was precisely the desperation caused by the lack of water and food, in addition to the absence of authorities, that caused the looting to begin, not only of basic necessities, but also of electronic devices, turning Acapulco into a no man’s land for a few hours.
Death toll rises
On Saturday, the Mexican government raised the death toll due to Hurricane Otis, which intensified in a few hours to become one of the most powerful cyclones in the history of the Pacific.
“Unfortunately, the Attorney General’s Office gives a total of 39 victims at the moment, 29 of them men and 10 women, the probable cause is asphyxiation due to submersion, although the investigation continues,” said by telephone the head of the Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection Rosa Icela Rodríguez.
She added that the deceased have not yet been identified and that the search for the 10 people missing after the storm continues.
Armed forces deployed
Approximately 10,000 members of the Army, Navy and National Guard (GN) have set up security and surveillance facilities in coordination with municipal, state and federal authorities.
The Armed Forces monitor the entry and exit points of the municipality of Acapulco full time, in addition to conducting patrols to prevent and deter possible criminal activity.
They are also working to remove vehicles, debris, poles, trees and other obstacles to clear the affected areas.
On Saturday, the National Emergency Committee (CNE), assured it is trying to respond to the needs of the population and restore services as quickly as possible.
At the time, the SICT reported that it had reopened access to the Mexico-Acapulco highway, opened a lane on the federal highway, and was working to repair several local roads and the La Venta section, where a sinkhole was reported at kilometer 16.
In addition, with the support of the airlines Volaris, Aeroméxico and VivaAerobús, an air bridge has been established between Acapulco and Mexico City, with a total of 14 flights, as well as by road, with 150 buses going to the capital.
Fuel on the way
On Friday, long lines were seen at Acapulco’s gas stations, which were suffering from fuel shortages.
In light of this, Pemex announced the immediate arrival of a ship to the port loaded with 600,000 tons of diesel and 15,000 tons of kerosene.
This will guarantee the necessary supply of vehicles, machines and airplanes that will be used in the care and recovery of the population.
Meanwhile, the National Water Commission (Conagua) is providing drinking water through tankers in the neighborhoods and is carrying out desilting work in saturated drains.
The CFE reported the fall of 10,000 poles and 140 high voltage towers, affecting 500,000 users. EFE