Disasters & Accidents

Acapulco incommunicado with damage unknown after Hurricane Otis

Mexico City, Oct 25 (EFE).- The city of Acapulco, one of the main tourist destinations in Mexico, remains incommunicado following the passage of the Hurricane Otis, which made landfall Wednesday as a Category 5 hurricane.

Almost a day has passed and no authority has issued any report on the damage to the city or surrounding towns, where Otis made landfall in the early hours of Wednesday after a sudden intensification that made it the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Mexico in recorded history.

Videos on social media networks uploaded by people in the city showed extensive material damage to some of the buildings – mainly hotels – located on the Coastal Highway along the Pacific Ocean.

Electricity and telecommunications have not yet been restored in Acapulco, nor has road access, despite the fact that state authorities recently reported that the passage was reopened to emergency vehicles in both directions at kilometer 360 of the Mexico-Acapulco highway after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was blocked on his way to the coastal city.

A couple of hours earlier, the president of Mexico announced that he was traveling to Acapulco, a tourist destination that has close to a million residents, to see the damage first-hand.

“We are going there now,” he reporters who intercepted him while he was traveling by land from Mexico City.

Members of his cabinet are already in the affected area the secretaries of defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval; Navy, Rafael Ojeda; security and citizen protection, Rosa Icela Rodríguez, and the National Coordinator of Civil Protection, Laura Velázquez.

In less than a day, Otis went from being a tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane, the highest of these natural phenomena, heading towards the coast of southern Guerrero state, where communication “was completely lost,” López Obrador said in his regular morning press conference.

According to the Federal Electricity Commission, the hurricane caused more than half a million people to be left without electricity.

In the last few hours, Otis was reduced to a low-pressure storm during its passage over the neighboring state of Michoacán, the National Meteorological Service reported Wednesday, although it noted that rain will continue throughout the day.

Guerrero Governor Evelyn Salgado assured early in the morning that she was in the affected area, but communication from state and local authorities has been very limited.

According to the Mexican government, the public treasury has up to 18 billion pesos ($983 million) in reserve funds for natural disasters like Otis.

The hurricane also affected seismic warning services in three states on the Mexican Pacific: Michoacán, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the main epicenters of earthquakes in the country.

The Mexican Seismic Alert System (Sasmex) said that the impact of Otis as category 5 prevented the communication of 27 sensors in this region of the Pacific Ocean, so in the event of a strong earthquake, close to the affected sensors, a seismic alert notice cannot be issued. EFE


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