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Hurricane Otis: Dozens Killed in Mexico’s Guerrero State

At least 27 people were killed by Hurricane Otis, which made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Wednesday, officials say.

Four more people have been reported missing, the security secretary said.

Acapulco was among the areas worst hit with 80% of the resort’s hotels damaged and streets flooded.

The Mexican President travelled to the city by land and at one point had to get out of his car and walk as debris from a mudslide blocked the highway.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador looks out of the window as the vehicle transporting his is stuck in mud during a visit to the Kilometro 42 community, near Acapulco, Guerrero State, Mexico, after the passage of Hurricane Otis, on October 25, 2023.

“The army is bringing machinery and we’re going to try to reopen [the highway] as soon as possible,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said.

With landlines and mobile phone coverage disrupted for more than 24 hours, it took officials until Thursday morning to release the death toll.

“Unfortunately, we have received word from the state and city governments that 27 people are dead and four are missing,” Secretary of State for Security Rosa Icela Rodríguez said.

She did not give any details about where or how they had died.

The ministry of defence said 8,000 soldiers had been deployed to Acapulco and towns along the coast to help with the clear-up and provide residents with food and water.

Hurricane Otis made landfall at 00:25 local time (06:25 GMT) on Wednesday. It had intensified from a tropical storm into a category five hurricane – the most severe category – in just 12 hours.

It brought winds of 165 miles per hour (265km/h) to the coastal areas before easing in strength.

Citlali Portillo, who works in the tourism sector in Acapulco, described to Televisa TV how “the building shook as if there was an earthquake”.

Videos showed guests sheltering in bathrooms and other areas without windows so they would not be injured by flying glass as windows were blown in by the wind.

Photo by David showing some of the destruction in Acapulco

The facade of a shopping centre in Acapulco was also ripped off.

More than 30% of the homes in the state of Guerrero lost power, plunging entire towns into darkness.

And although the strength of the wind subsided relatively quickly as Otis moved inland, Mexico’s meteorological service warned that torrential downpours were likely to drench Guerrero, while Michoacán, Mexico state, Morelos and Oaxaca should expect very heavy rain.

The US National Hurricane Center said that the rainfall could “produce flash and urban flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain”.

Source : BBC