(NEW YORK) — A week after a powerful Category 5 hurricane hit Acapulco, Mexico, at least 58 people are still missing, according to the Mexican government. Among the missing are 18 foreign nationals, including 11 Americans.
Hurricane Otis is the strongest hurricane on record to hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast, making landfall with winds up to 165 mph. Prior to Otis, the strongest hurricane on record to hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast was Category 4 Hurricane Patricia in 2015.
So far, 46 people have been confirmed dead. But some officials have been skeptical about the government’s death toll.
Alejandro Martínez Sidney, president of the local chamber of commerce in Acapulco, said in an interview with a local outlet that they’ve counted about 120 dead or missing at sea alone, some of whose bodies have washed up on the beach.
People in the famous party town were so unprepared, an untold number of fishermen and boat crews were still out at sea. They are now among those missing.
A week after the storm hit, many are still without bottled water, food, electricity and internet and about 63,000 businesses have totally collapsed, according to Martínez Sidney.
The families of the missing say at least those bodies are being recovered, as the Mexican navy retrieves vessels in Acapulco’s bay and at times the bodies trapped in them.
But López Obrador has spent much time in the last week fighting with his perceived political enemies, accusing them of exaggerating the damage from Otis to hurt him politically — even as he has actively tried to minimize it.
“It wasn’t that bad for us because when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, there were 2,000 deaths,” López Obrador said Monday.
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