About 17,000 soldiers and police officers have been sent to Acapulco, a popular Mexican resort city, due to widespread looting following a powerful hurricane. Videos show people taking food and water from stores and even walking away with expensive electronics and clothes from shopping centers. Hurricane Otis has sadly claimed the lives of 39 people, leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity and clean water.
Otis made landfall on the Pacific coast, packing winds of 165mph (266 km/h) after quickly intensifying from a tropical storm to a devastating category five hurricane in just 12 hours. Acapulco was hit especially hard, with 80% of the city’s hotels suffering damage and streets being flooded. The death toll has risen to 39, with 29 men and 10 women confirmed as casualties, while at least 10 individuals are still missing.
Videos shared on social media reveal looting in severely affected neighborhoods as food and water supplies become increasingly scarce. The main road connecting Acapulco to the rest of the country has just reopened, allowing essential supplies to reach the city. In the Renacimiento neighborhood, residents are frustrated by the lack of assistance. Apolonio Maldonado, showing deep red cuts on his shins, said, “The government hasn’t provided any help, not even hope, no food, mattresses, or cots.”
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has pledged to support Acapulco’s rebuilding efforts but has accused his political opponents of exaggerating the extent of the looting to undermine his government ahead of the upcoming presidential election. In a video posted on social media, he stated, “They circle like vultures, they don’t care about people’s pain, they want to hurt us, for there to have been lots of deaths.”
Officials report that Otis was the most powerful storm ever to strike Mexico’s Pacific coast, causing widespread devastation estimated to cost billions of dollars.