At least 48 people have died after Hurricane Otis devastated the state of Guerrero on Mexico’s South Pacific coast, the government said on Sunday.
According to Mexico’s Civil Defense, 43 of the deaths occurred in the resort town of Acapulco.
The Category 5 hurricane, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Eastern Pacific, also caused the deaths of five residents in the nearby community of Coyuca de Benítez.
The dead included an American citizen, a Briton and a Canadian, the Guerrero government said. The three people had been living in Acapulco for some time and were not considered tourists.
Guerrero Gov. Evelyn Salgado said Sunday that 47 people were still missing, according to the attorney general’s office.
Firefighters and divers searched for bodies near sunken boats at a yacht club in Acapulco on Saturday after Hurricane Otis passed, killing 43 people in the resort town and five others in the municipality of Coyuca de Benítez
Aerial view of yachts left scattered across Acapulco, Mexico, after Hurricane Otis devastated the resort last week
Search and rescue efforts continued Monday as Mexico’s navy minister dispatched a ship that will serve as a hospital and soup kitchen.
The Navy also launched efforts to search for bodies from 29 boats that sank in Acapulco Bay when Hurricane Otis made landfall last Wednesday.
Authorities were awaiting the arrival of a ship equipped with a crane to remove the wreckage from the water.
At least 18 minors were flown from Guerrero to the XXI Century National Medical Center in Mexico City on Monday, according to Mexico’s Social Security Institute.
The children include several premature infants suffering from perinatal asphyxia from tracheostomy.
People salvage goods from a mall in Acapulco that was damaged by Hurricane Otis
A church in Acapulco was converted into a shelter for people directly affected by Hurricane Otis. The Category 5 hurricane killed 48 people and 47 are still missing
A volunteer receives humanitarian assistance at a collection center in Acapulco on Sunday
The Mexican government said Sunday that Hurricane Otis left 48 dead and 47 missing
It is estimated that damage from the powerful storm could be at least $15 billion. Volunteers and military personnel had cleared debris from the resort’s main boulevard.
As of Sunday, 58 percent of homes in Acapulco had power restored and water tanks were distributing water to remote neighborhoods.
The Mexican government has deployed 17,000 military personnel to Acapulco to provide security and help distribute food and supplies.
Emilia Rojas was among 150 residents who complained about waiting several hours for water to be distributed in the La Frontera neighborhood.
“Look how many of us there are,” she said. “There are so many of us. This water won’t be enough.”
Perla Rubi said a cloud of fear hovered over her and residents who showed up to hand out water at 5 a.m. and heard that people were being attacked.
“Where is the government help?” she said.
Families also held a memorial service for their loved ones in Acapulco on Sunday. Others visited the morgue to search for missing relatives and identify bodies.
Mexican authorities transported an injured child on a stretcher to a medical facility outside the Pacific coast state of Guerrero on Sunday. As of Monday, at least 18 minors had been flown to a hospital in Mexico City
Aerial view taken Sunday of the destruction left by Hurricane Otis on Caleta Beach in Acapulco
People charge their cell phones at a church providing shelter for victims of Hurricane Otis in the Mexican resort of Acapulco
A man rides a bicycle in an area damaged by Hurricane Otis last week in Acapulco. On Sunday, authorities increased the death toll to 48
Military members carry boxes of supplies at Acapulco International Airport on Sunday. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government has been criticized for what residents say has been a slow response to provide food and relief supplies to those affected by Hurricane Otis
Katy Barrera, 30, said her aunt and three cousins were killed when mud and rocks fell from a mountain and buried them in their home. Her aunt’s husband is still missing.
“The water came in with the rocks and mud and completely buried them,” said Barrera, whose mother and brother are also missing.
She joined neighborhood residents in complaining that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government was more concerned about cleaning up the tourist area in Acapulco, where 80 percent of hotels suffered damage, rather than people in remote areas to help.
“There are many, many people here at the morgue who are entire families; “Families of six, families of four or even eight people,” Barrera said. “I would like to ask the authorities not to lie… There are many people who arrive dead.”