Increased Aid Reaches Acapulco as Hurricane Otis’ Death Toll Climbs to 39 Amid Ongoing Recovery Efforts

by Andrew Wright
Hurricane Otis Recovery

Additional aid is being dispatched to Mexico’s storm-stricken Pacific coastline, as the casualty count from Hurricane Otis continues to rise. Recovery teams are discovering more victims in Acapulco’s harbor as well as beneath toppled trees and assorted wreckage left by the storm.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated on Saturday that his political adversaries are attempting to exaggerate the death toll for their own political advantage. Nonetheless, few believe that the current official death count of 39 will remain static, as hundreds of families are still seeking information about their missing relatives.

Hurricane Otis made landfall early on Wednesday, carrying with it fierce winds of up to 165 mph (266 kph). The hurricane intensified so quickly that residents had scant time to take precautionary measures.

Kristian Vera, a 44-year-old fisherwoman, observed the destruction from an Acapulco beach on Saturday. She counted dozens of submerged boats, three of which were her own, either indicated by floating buoys or barely visible above the waterline.

Despite losing her means of income to Otis’ ravaging journey across Mexico’s Pacific coast, Vera felt comparatively lucky. She had earlier witnessed a body being retrieved from the water and had seen families in search of their missing members.

The Mexican government updated the official count of deaths to 39 and reported 10 individuals missing as of Saturday. Vera, among others, anticipates that these numbers will likely increase. This is partly due to individuals who set sail when Otis was still categorized as a tropical storm, only to face its rapid escalation into a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane within 12 hours.

To salvage their submerged vessels, Vera and four others swam to them using empty fuel containers as flotation devices. She elaborated that among the deceased were fellow fishers who had been tending to their boats, as well as yacht captains who had been instructed by their employers to secure their vessels when Otis was still considered a tropical storm.

Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez, in a recorded video message alongside President López Obrador, indicated that the preliminary cause of death for the 39 victims was “asphyxiation due to submersion.” She stated that identification of the victims was still pending and investigations were ongoing.

The death toll increased by 12 from an initial figure of 27, announced on Thursday. The human cost of the storm has, however, become a subject of dispute. Rodríguez also mentioned that the number of missing individuals had increased to 10.

In the aftermath, Acapulco witnessed a concerted relief effort taking form four days post-impact. Lines formed at fueling stations, and government personnel alongside volunteers worked to clear streets and remove debris. Partial mobile network connectivity was restored in some upscale hotel areas, and public phone charging stations were set up.

However, the situation remained grim in outlying neighborhoods, where the government’s presence was notably lacking. In these areas, residents navigated through muddy, flooded streets to access discovered stockpiles of food, taking what they could carry.

The city’s isolation exacerbated the delay in aid. Due to the hurricane’s sudden intensification on Tuesday, no advance preparations had been made, leaving the city of nearly one million residents cut off initially.

Search teams faced the arduous task of locating deceased and missing persons, often hindered by the widespread debris.

Amidst ongoing struggles to secure basic necessities like water, official statements indicate that the military presence in the area is set to expand to 15,000. President López Obrador has also directed the armed forces to establish security checkpoints to prevent looting.

The national electricity company has reported that power has been restored to 55% of affected customers, yet more than 200,000 homes and businesses are still without electricity. According to federal civil defense statistics, 220,000 homes sustained damage due to the storm.

For more updates on climate-related matters, visit: https://bigbignews.net/climate-and-environment

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News writer Fabiola Sánchez in Mexico City.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hurricane Otis Recovery

What is the current official death toll from Hurricane Otis?

The current official death toll from Hurricane Otis is 39, as reported by the Mexican government. However, this number is subject to change as recovery efforts continue.

Who is Kristian Vera and why is she mentioned in the article?

Kristian Vera is a 44-year-old fisherwoman from Acapulco. She is mentioned to provide a firsthand account of the devastation, as she lost three of her boats in the hurricane but felt fortunate compared to others who lost their lives.

What has been President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s reaction to the death toll?

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed that his political opponents are attempting to exaggerate the death toll for their own advantage. Despite this, few believe that the current official death toll of 39 will remain static.

What were the wind speeds when Hurricane Otis hit?

Hurricane Otis hit with devastating winds of up to 165 mph (266 kph).

How quickly did Hurricane Otis escalate?

Hurricane Otis escalated from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane within a span of 12 hours.

What are the ongoing efforts to aid the affected population?

Government workers and volunteers are clearing streets and removing debris. Military personnel will increase to 15,000 in the area, and security checkpoints will be established to prevent robberies. Partial mobile network connectivity has been restored in some areas, and public phone charging stations have been set up.

Are there any areas where the government’s presence is lacking?

Yes, the article mentions that the government’s presence is notably lacking in outlying neighborhoods of Acapulco, where residents are navigating through muddy, flooded streets to access stockpiles of food.

What is the status of power restoration in the affected areas?

As of the latest update, power has been restored to 55% of the affected customers. However, more than 200,000 homes and businesses are still without electricity.

How many homes have been reported as damaged by the storm?

According to federal civil defense statistics, 220,000 homes have sustained damage due to the storm.

Is the number of missing persons reported?

Yes, the number of missing persons has been reported as 10, an increase from previous counts.

More about Hurricane Otis Recovery

  • Official Death Toll Updates
  • President López Obrador’s Statement on Death Toll
  • Meteorological Data on Hurricane Otis
  • Acapulco’s Current Situation
  • Federal Civil Defense Statistics on Damaged Homes
  • Recovery Efforts and Aid Distribution
  • Political Reactions to Hurricane Otis’ Aftermath

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JenH October 29, 2023 - 6:18 am

I hope the volunteers and military can get things back to some semblance of normal soon. those people have suffered enough.

Emily45 October 29, 2023 - 5:39 pm

The article does a good job covering different aspects – like the lack of aid in some areas and the struggles of locals like Kristian Vera. It’s just heartbreaking.

SandyK October 29, 2023 - 11:00 pm

can’t believe how fast Otis turned into a cat 5. People didn’t even have time to prepare properly.

Mike J October 30, 2023 - 12:24 am

Wow, 39 deaths and still counting. That’s just tragic. The situation sounds like it’s far from over.

LauraM October 30, 2023 - 12:37 am

Reading about Kristian Vera really puts it in perspective. She lost so much but still considers herself fortunate. That’s resilience for you.

Robert_T October 30, 2023 - 1:12 am

What’s up with the president saying the numbers are inflated? seems like now’s not the time for political games.

Steve_B October 30, 2023 - 1:14 am

I wonder how long it will take to fully recover from this. Hurricanes leave a lasting impact, both physically and emotionally.

GarryL October 30, 2023 - 2:49 am

So many homes destroyed, and the power situation is still messed up? The govt needs to step up their efforts.


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