The vibrant Mexican city of Acapulco found itself in the grips of chaos as widespread looting swept through the iconic beach resort. The hurricane, an unprecedented Category 5 storm, wreaked havoc with its ferocious 165 mph winds, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 27 lives and leaving thousands of residents struggling for basic necessities such as food and water.
Otis struck Acapulco early on Wednesday, unleashing its fury by inundating the city, ripping roofs from homes, stores, and hotels, submerging vehicles, and severing essential communication and transportation links.
The colossal devastation inflicted by this hurricane is estimated to cost billions of dollars to repair, prompting the dispatch of over 8,000 armed forces personnel to assist the beleaguered port city in its recovery efforts.
As the hurricane’s aftermath unfolded, the consequences were profound and dire. “Right now, money’s no use to us because there’s nothing to buy, everything’s been looted,” lamented Rodolfo Villagomez, a 57-year-old Acapulco resident, who witnessed the devastation left in Otis’s wake. “It was total chaos. You could hear it here hissing like a bull.” This vivid account encapsulates the surreal and nightmarish atmosphere that gripped the city.
In the absence of accessible necessities, looting became a stark reality. On Thursday evening, desperate residents resorted to carrying away essentials like food, water, and even toilet paper from stores. A woman explained, “We came to get food because we don’t have any.” This poignant statement underscores the profound desperation and dire circumstances that residents faced.
In response to these acts of desperation, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador acknowledged, “There were acts of looting in some places because there was an emergency,” while urging residents not to exploit the dire situation further.
Beyond the looting, the cityscape was transformed into a surreal panorama of destruction. Household debris and remnants were scattered amidst the wreckage, mingling with the twisted remains of deck chairs and the gnarled remnants of once-stately trees outside homes now reduced to ruins.
As Acapulco grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Otis, the international community watches with concern and offers support to help the city recover from this devastating natural disaster.