Death toll from Hurricane Otis in southern Mexico rises to 48

Search and recovery work continues after storm hits Acapulco and nearby region

At least 48 people died when Hurricane Otis slammed into Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, most of them in Acapulco, authorities said as the death toll continued to climb and families buried loved ones.

Mexico’s civil defence agency said 43 of the dead were in the resort city of Acapulco and five were in nearby Coyuca de Benitez.

Guerrero state’s governor had earlier raised the number of missing to 36 from 10 a day earlier. The death toll increased after authorities raised it to 39 on Saturday.

In Acapulco, families held funerals for the dead on Sunday and continued the search for essentials while government workers and volunteers cleared streets clogged with muck and debris from the powerful category five hurricane.


During a short time outside the morgue on Sunday morning, at least half a dozen families arrived, some looking for relatives, other identifying bodies and still others giving statements to authorities.

The sombre convoys of hearses and relatives crossed much of battered Acapulco en route to the cemetery, passing ransacked stores, streets strewn with debris and soldiers cutting away fallen trees.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Saturday that his opponents were trying to inflate the toll to damage him politically, but with hundreds of families still awaiting word from loved ones it was likely to keep rising.

Otis reached shore early on Wednesday with devastating 250km/h winds after strengthening so rapidly that people had little time to prepare.

Military personnel and volunteers worked along Acapulco’s main tourist strip on Saturday, and Guerrero state governor Evelyn Salgado said on Sunday that the boulevard had been cleared of debris.

Ms Salgado also said that the national electric company reported restoring power to 58 per cent of homes and businesses in Acapulco, and 21 water tankers were distributing water to outlying neighbourhoods. But on the city’s periphery, neighbourhoods remained in ruins.

Aid has been slow to arrive. The storm’s destruction cut off the city of nearly one million people for the first day, and because Otis had intensified so quickly on Tuesday little to nothing had been staged in advance.

The military presence grew to 15,000 in the area. Mr Lopez Obrador had called on the armed forces to set up checkpoints in the city to deter looting and robbery. He said the federal civil defence agency tallied 220,000 homes that were damaged by the storm. – AP