The Mexican government reported that a minimum of 27 individuals lost their lives from Hurricane Otis, with four others still unaccounted for. The powerful storm made landfall in the Pacific city of Acapulco, causing significant destruction.
The government, led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is currently focused on restoring power and repairing the damage caused by a category 5 hurricane in the state of Guerrero. The city of Acapulco has also been left without communication due to the storm.
During a typical government press conference on Thursday, López Obrador expressed that the events in Acapulco were extremely catastrophic.
Otis caused flooding on streets, tore off roofs from homes and hotels, and disrupted communication and transportation systems. The loss of phone service and electricity also hindered officials from promptly evaluating the full impact of the disaster.
AMLO stated that the damage was extensive, resulting in all power line poles being knocked down in the affected area.
Initial reports showed widespread destruction, with fallen trees and electrical wires submerged in brown floodwaters stretching for miles in certain regions.
Numerous beachfront hotels in Acapulco, once known for their modern appearance, now resemble broken and empty shells due to the fierce hurricane that caused damage to hundreds, or even thousands, of windows.
In Acapulco, there was a general sense of discontent with the authorities. Despite the presence of approximately 10,000 military personnel, they did not have the necessary equipment to remove the large amount of mud and fallen trees from the streets.
On Wednesday, numerous trucks from the government’s electricity company reached Acapulco, but were unsure how to repair the power outage due to fallen power lines covered in mud and water.
During the time of Otis, Jakob Sauczuk and his friends were staying at a beachfront hotel. In response to the storm, they took shelter by lying on the floor and in between beds. Sauczuk shared that they spent a lot of time praying during this difficult situation.
Sauczuk expressed dissatisfaction that his group was not given any prior notice, nor were they provided with a safer place to take shelter, by the hotel.
Pablo Navarro, a worker in the auto parts industry, was staying in a temporary lodging at a hotel by the beach. He expressed his fear of possibly dying while staying in his 13th-floor hotel room.
Navarro recounted, “I sought refuge in the bathroom and was relieved when the door remained intact. However, in some rooms, the wind was strong enough to cause the windows and doors to blow out.”
On Wednesday, it took a significant amount of time for officials to partially reopen the primary road connecting Acapulco to the capital of the state, Chilpancingo, and Mexico City.
The airports in Acapulco, both for commercial and military purposes, were still too significantly damaged to resume any flights.
The Diamond Zone of Acapulco, a seaside location with hotels, dining options, and other popular destinations, appeared to be mostly submerged in aerial footage shared by Foro TV on Wednesday afternoon. The streets and bridges were completely concealed by a massive amount of brown water.
On Tuesday, Otis surprised many as it quickly grew from a tropical storm to a strong category 5 hurricane.
Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, expressed the terror of experiencing a category 5 hurricane unexpectedly, stating that it is a nightmare compared to being prepared for its arrival.