Five days after the passage of Hurricane Otis which devastated the Pacific coast in Mexico on Wednesday morning, the provisional death toll was 48, Sunday September 29, according to the Mexican civil defense agency.
In a statement, the agency said 43 victims were in the beach town of Acapulco and 5 in Coyuca de Benitez. The governor of Guerrero state previously said 36 people were missing. These are the first figures from the towns located near the seaside town, where, until now, the other deaths and most of the material damage have been recorded.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry reported that 263 foreigners were in the port at the time of the hurricane, including 34 Americans, 18 French and 17 Cubans – found safe. They all left Acapulco.
According to media reports, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador flew over the disaster area on Sunday and spoke with those responsible for relief operations.
The number of victims was slow, the passage of the hurricane having led to the cut of electricity and telecommunications, gradually restored over the weekend.
Winds of 270 kilometers per hour
From a simple tropical storm, Otis strengthened into a maximum strength 5 hurricane in just six hours off the Pacific coast of Mexico. It made landfall with winds of 270 kilometers per hour, devastating the seaside resort, which has some 780,000 inhabitants and lives mainly from tourism. The hurricane then weakened as it progressed into the hinterland. But heavy rains persisted in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, two of the poorest in the country.
The speed with which the hurricane formed did not give residents time to protect their homes or stock up on water and food.
The federal government has counted more than 273,000 homes and hundreds of hotels having suffered more or less serious damage. In addition, 12 highways and roads remained blocked. “We are making progress in the effective distribution of humanitarian aid”assured Evelyn Salgadothe governor of the state of Guerrero on X (formerly Twitter).
Aid from the government and NGOs began to be distributed on Friday afternoon, after the reopening of the airport and the resumption of road traffic.
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According to the consulting firm Enki Research, specializing in natural phenomena, the cost of the damage caused by Otis amounts to around 15 billion dollars (14.2 billion euros).