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"Acapulco will rise," governor says in wake of Hurricane Otis destruction

Recovery efforts are beginning in Acapulco, the resort town along Mexico’s southern Pacific Coast that was pummeled by Hurricane Otis earlier this week.

The ferocity of Otis, which grew in strength from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in a matter of hours, took many weather experts by surprise. While the storm had “disastrous” impacts after making landfall in Acapulco early Wednesday morning, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador credited residents with taking precautions to find shelter and protect themselves, which he said helped avoid higher casualty numbers.

At least 27 people have died as a result of the hurricane, López Obrador said Thursday. At least four others are missing, according to the Associated Press.

About 10,000 troops with Mexico’s armed forces were in the area Thursday to support the federal government’s response, and more than 1,000 workers with Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission were working on restoring power to communities that lost service during the storm. None of the power poles in Acapulco were still standing after the storm tore through, López Obrador said during a Thursday press conference.

Evelyn Salgado, governor of Mexico’s Guerrero state, wrote in a Thursday update on Facebook that the area is “slowly” regaining internet connectivity as more workers are able to access impacted areas. It was unclear Thursday afternoon exactly how much of Acapulco, which in 2020 had a government-estimated population of about 852,000, lost power during the storm and was still without it.

Newsweek reached out to the governor’s office by email on Thursday for additional information.

Salgado said in a series of social media posts that local communities are “not alone” and will have help to “rehabilitate and improve this legendary and beautiful port of Acapulco.”

“Acapulco will rise, we will go ahead and stronger than ever,” she wrote in one update.

Photos and videos shared online in the wake of Hurricane Otis captured its significant destruction. Before-and-after photos showed how the storm tore apart shopping malls, hotels and apartment buildings. Debris coated streets within the city, while mudslides blocked access to some roads just outside it, making for a difficult entry for people sent to help.

By Thursday morning, López Obrador said fuel service was “guaranteed” and health services were available to everyone in Guerrero. Government workers were expected to begin traveling throughout the area on Thursday to assess damage to homes, businesses and farms. Early next week, national banking and finance officials plan to meet for discussions on Acapulco restoration strategies, the president said.

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