Community Rallies to Support Hurricane Otis Survivors in Mexico
The search and aid for survivors has begun in Acapulco, Mexico after Category 5 hurricane Otis destroyed much of the resort city after making landfall on October 25.
According to AP News, at least 27 people were killed during the storm, and four are still missing. The Mexican government has deployed nearly 10,000 troops to the area, helping to clear the streets and searching for people reportedly swept away by mudslides.
During a press conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated the government was working tirelessly to restore water and electricity to the area, however, response was delayed because of the devastation left behind by Otis.
“We regret the 27 dead,” he said, adding that material losses were replaceable. “The people sheltered, protected themselves and that’s why fortunately there weren’t more tragedies, loss of human life.”
He continued, “Everyone will be supported, count on us.”
Otis gained unexpected strength overnight, catching the Pacific coast off-guard
According to The Guardian, Otis marked the first time in recorded history that the eastern Pacific faced a hurricane with this strength. Compared to 2015’s Hurricane Patricia, which made landfall at speeds of 150mph, Otis had wind speeds of 165mph.
Forecasts by the US National Hurricane Center initially suggested Otis was moving westward three days before hitting Acapulco. The storm gained strength about 12 hours before making landfall, catching residents and tourists off-guard.
Among the destruction, the walls of beachside hotels and resorts fell off. President of the Mexican Hotel Association, Miguel Angel Fong told AP that 80% of the city’s hotels experienced damage.
Meanwhile, survivors are still searching for missing loved ones. Flora Contrera Santos, who lives in an impoverished neighborhood told AP she was helping a mother look for her 3-year-old daughter who was swept away in a mudslide.
“The mountain came down on them,” she said. “The mud took her from the mother’s arms. We need help, the mother is in bad shape and we can’t find the girl.”
Community organizations are rallying to help survivors
While survivors await government supplies, electricity, and water be restored, community members and non-profit organizations have gathered to support those affected.
Organizations such as the Cruz Roja Mexicana are gathering donations. Currently, the most useful items include: bottled water, first aid kits, personal hygiene products, canned foods, baby food and diapers.
Haz el bien x Acá, an organization in Mexico City is also aiding families by taking contributions to Acapulco both by air and land.
Meanwhile, Santuario el Camino is helping displaced farm animals affected by the storm. They are receiving monetary donations as well as vaccines, food, and medicine.
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