Direct witness Anarchy takes over Acapulco, the tourist city devastated by Hurricane Otis

The atmosphere in Acapulco after the passage of Hurricane Otis is one of desperation and anarchy

Direct witness Anarchy takes over Acapulco, the tourist city devastated by Hurricane Otis

The atmosphere in Acapulco after the passage of Hurricane Otis is one of desperation and anarchy. More than a million people have been trying to survive the catastrophe for five days without having guaranteed supplies of water, electricity, internet, gasoline or basic products. The authorities' poor response has unleashed a wave of looting in businesses, while around 100,000 tourists are still trying to escape a city plunged into chaos. In the absence of an official balance sheet of damages, the tourism sector assumes that the spill will be multimillion-dollar and that the idyllic postcards of sun and beach will take a long time to recover.

The vast majority of hotels located on the beachfront look like they have suffered a bombing: their windows and balconies are broken and common areas are littered with debris. Jorge Laurel, owner of the Suites Jazmín hotel, acknowledges to EL MUNDO that "it is something unprecedented, it is a catastrophic and devastating state that will take a long time to recover." Just behind the hotel zone is the Icacos neighborhood, one of the most humble and hit by the storm, whose simple plywood houses could not withstand the wind gusts of 330 kilometers per hour. Entering its streets involves avoiding a labyrinth of obstacles of fallen trees and electricity poles that the neighbors themselves try to clear. At the top of the neighborhood, the Bautista family stands guard in front of the rubble of Aunt Luciene's house, where the bodies of her tenant and her caretaker who took care of her lie.


"The bodies are rotting, the neighbors complain about the smell and no one comes to help us. The Prosecutor's Office asked me to buy plastic tarps because they have no more body bags left," Alba Bautista, the victim's niece, tells this newspaper. Her aunt, blind and with reduced mobility, and her 33-year-old caregiver did not want to take shelter when the hurricane hit and a huge tree reduced her home to rubble. Her niece Alba admits that "she caught us off guard; the wind made the floor and walls shake. It wasn't the classic sound of a hurricane, it was like the roar of a beast."

Luciene's death especially affected the only son who lived with her, who has a disability and refuses to abandon his mother's body. Her other two daughters live abroad and received the sad news through a voicemail message. "The authorities were overwhelmed and are hiding the truth. They are not the dead that they say, there are many more, but they do not want to acknowledge it," Alba denounces. The number of victims offered by the Mexican Government remained unchanged from Wednesday until yesterday (when the dead rose from 27 to 39 and the missing from four to 10). Everyone assumes it will continue to increase in the coming days.

Since the passing of Otis, money has ceased to have value in Acapulco. What good is it if the lack of electricity prevents businesses from operating normally? In the absence of supplies or support from the authorities, many residents have been forced to loot businesses. Most take essential products, although there are also those who take advantage of the chaos to steal appliances, motorcycles or televisions. Before the undaunted gaze of the military, hundreds of people enter the large stores to take what they can. Lluvia Arias takes beans, corn, cookies and detergent: "We know it's wrong, but it's out of necessity, our children are hungry," she explains.

Many residents are eager to escape Acapulco, but cannot do so because there is very little fuel available. Jenni Vizcarra has been waiting in lines for up to six hours at a gas station for several days to take small cans with which to fill the tank of her vehicle: "Acapulco is lost. How are we going to survive without electricity or water? People are desperate and, "When the food supplies run out, this is going to be hell. We lost everything, so we are going to start from scratch because it is no longer possible here."