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Mexican Authorities Update Hurricane Otis Death Toll to 39

by Michael Nguyen
10 comments
Hurricane Otis Death Toll in Mexico

The Mexican government updated the number of fatalities to 39 this Saturday, resulting from the devastating Category 5 Hurricane Otis that impacted the southern Pacific coast, including the popular vacation spot of Acapulco, last Wednesday.

Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez disclosed in a video message alongside President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, uploaded to platform X, that the likely cause of death for these individuals was “asphyxiation due to drowning.” She stated that identification of the victims is still pending and that investigations are ongoing.

This revised death count signifies an increase of 12 compared to the initial figure of 27, which was reported on Thursday. The storm’s impact on human life has become a matter of dispute. Local media outlets have reported the discovery of additional bodies, while López Obrador has criticized adversaries for politicizing the tragedy.

Rodríguez further informed that the number of missing persons has escalated to 10. Hundreds of families are still waiting to hear news about their relatives.

Cleanup and relief efforts were more organized on Saturday in Acapulco. Government employees and volunteers worked diligently to clear debris from the streets. Long lines formed at gas stations, and some families were able to secure essential food items. Military forces and volunteers focused their efforts mainly on Acapulco’s principal tourist areas, removing fallen palm trees and metal signage. Partial cellphone service was restored near some of the more upscale hotels, and charging stations were set up for public use.

However, peripheral areas of the city remained in a state of disarray, lacking the government presence visible in tourist sectors. Residents, including elderly individuals, waded through muddy, inundated streets to reach warehouses discovered to be filled with food supplies.

The initial response to the disaster had been slow. Acapulco, a city of nearly one million inhabitants, was essentially cut off during the first day due to the storm’s rapid intensification, leaving little time for preemptive measures.

Rescue and recovery have been challenging tasks for the authorities. Skepticism was widespread as the initial official death toll and number of missing persons had not been updated for two days, leaving hundreds of families in suspense.

An unnamed military official indicated that the recovery of bodies was particularly difficult due to the debris covering them. In another section of the city, Orlando Mendoza, aged 46, was seen carrying food supplies for his family along a wet highway.

Volunteers from the central state of Puebla were distributing food packages to families like Mendoza’s. Meanwhile, 67-year-old Abel Montoya spent over an hour in a line for gasoline, monitored by soldiers to prevent looting, as he needed fuel to search for water and ice.

The absence of electricity has halted the operation of gas pumps, and the municipal water system is also non-operational due to power failure. The government plans to increase military presence to 15,000 in the affected regions and has established checkpoints to prevent thefts.

President López Obrador announced that electricity had been restored to 55% of the affected customers but more than 200,000 homes and businesses were still without power. According to the federal civil defense agency, approximately 220,000 residences sustained damage due to the storm.


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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hurricane Otis Death Toll in Mexico

What is the updated death toll from Hurricane Otis in Mexico?

The Mexican government has revised the death toll to 39 as of Saturday. The hurricane struck the southern Pacific coast, including the resort city of Acapulco, as a Category 5 storm.

Who provided the updated information on the death toll and probable cause of death?

Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez, in a video message alongside President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, provided the updated information. She stated that the probable cause of death for these individuals was “asphyxiation due to drowning.”

Has the number of missing persons also changed?

Yes, Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez also announced that the number of missing persons has increased to 10.

What is the government doing in response to the disaster?

In Acapulco, government workers and volunteers are clearing streets and aiding in the distribution of essential supplies. The military presence is planned to be increased to 15,000, and checkpoints are being established to prevent thefts.

How has the disaster affected essential services like electricity and water?

The hurricane left the municipal water system and gas stations inoperable due to power failure. President López Obrador announced that electricity had been restored to 55% of the affected customers but more than 200,000 homes and businesses are still without power.

Are there controversies regarding the reported death toll?

Yes, local media have reported the discovery of additional bodies, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has criticized political opponents for trying to make the human toll a political issue.

How are local residents coping with the aftermath?

Residents are struggling with a lack of basic services like electricity, water, and food. Some have taken to wading through flooded streets to reach warehouses stocked with food supplies.

What areas are most affected by the hurricane?

The southern Pacific coast, including the resort city of Acapulco, has been severely impacted by Hurricane Otis. Peripheral areas of the city remain in a state of disarray.

What challenges are rescue and recovery teams facing?

One of the major challenges is finding the dead and missing persons, often complicated by the debris covering them. Additionally, skepticism has been widespread as the initial official figures had not been updated for two days.

Who are the contributors to this report?

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

More about Hurricane Otis Death Toll in Mexico

  • Hurricane Categories Explained
  • Official Statement by Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez
  • President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Address
  • Emergency Response Guidelines for Natural Disasters
  • Acapulco Tourism Impact Assessment
  • Federal Civil Defense Agency Report
  • AP Climate and Environment Coverage
  • Volunteer Organizations in Natural Disasters
  • Real-Time Tracking of Hurricane Otis
  • Status of Electricity Restoration in Affected Areas

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10 comments

FinanceExpert October 29, 2023 - 1:10 am

Terrible tragedy aside, this is going to have a big economic impact on the region. Tourism in Acapulco will suffer, that’s for sure.

Reply
Teckie October 29, 2023 - 2:12 am

No electricity = no pumps, no water, such a mess. Need to think about more resilient infrastructure.

Reply
PoliticalWatcher October 29, 2023 - 4:24 am

Classic move by politicians to politicize a tragedy. Lopez Obrador should focus on helping people instead of blaming opponents.

Reply
EmilyGreen October 29, 2023 - 6:46 am

This is a horrible tragedy but I’m skeptical about the official numbers. Seems like they’re underreported :/

Reply
TravelLover October 29, 2023 - 8:10 am

This is heartbreaking! Acapulco was such a beautiful place. How will it recover?

Reply
ConcernedCitizen October 29, 2023 - 10:01 am

Why wasn’t more done in advance? they knew the storm was coming, could’ve been better prepared.

Reply
CryptoGuru October 29, 2023 - 10:13 am

So sad to hear about this, especially the elderly and families who are struggling. When’s the government gonna step up their game?

Reply
JohnDoe123 October 29, 2023 - 3:51 pm

Wow, that’s devastating. can’t believe the toll keeps rising, thoughts and prayers to the families affected.

Reply
EcoWarrior October 29, 2023 - 5:48 pm

We’ve gotta face it, these extreme weather events are getting worse due to climate change. Time to act is now people!

Reply
Humanitarian1 October 29, 2023 - 9:31 pm

Kudos to those volunteers from Puebla, sometimes humanity shines in the worst of times.

Reply

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