Saturday, June 15, 2024

Hurricane Otis official death toll updated

Mexican authorities on Thursday raised the official number of victims of Hurricane Otis to 50 dead and 30 missing, four weeks after Hurricane Otis made landfall as a devastating Category 5 storm in Acapulco.

The announcement came on the heels of news reports that the death toll was up to seven times higher than officially reported and that the government had stopped looking for people, including perhaps dozens of sailors presumed to have been lost at sea.

Acapulco boat wreck
Local reports suggest there are still dozens of missing sailors who may have been swept overboard during the storm. (Carlos Alberto Carbajal/Cuartoscuro)

However, the new figure isn’t much of a change from previous statistics. As of last week, the government’s official figure was that 49 people died and 26 were missing as a result of the Oct. 25 hurricane. The initial report four weeks ago was that 27 had died.

Three weeks ago, local officials told the Washington Post that they had counted 120 dead or missing, including 20 bodies that washed up on beaches and by the docks. More recently, Guerrero-based Ricardo Castillo of the Quadratín news agency cited data from local funeral parlors, claiming the storm had claimed the lives of at least 350 people.

President López Obrador, who delivered his Thursday morning news conference from the Acapulco Naval Base, has in the past accused his “adversaries” of spreading false news that the storm left hundreds dead.

“The people of Acapulco are not alone, nor are the people of Coyuca de Benítez,” he said on Thursday, alluding to a nearby town that went through not only the devastating Oct. 25 hurricane but also a shooting that left 13 local law enforcement members dead two days before.

AMLO Acapulco Marina
President López Obrador said that the government has adequately supported communities affected by the hurricane. (Presidencia/Cuartoscuro)

Saying residents of the affected communities “have been supported,” López Obrador revealed plans for an event on Thursday afternoon. “We are going to pay tribute to those who unfortunately lost their lives,” he said, “and we are going to continue in the search for those who are missing,” he added.

Guerrero Governor Evelyn Salgado stressed that the search for 30 missing people continues and that a government program had found 1,592 people.

She also reported the collection of more than 211,000 tons of garbage and the cleaning of 322 linear kilometers with the support of 4,231 officials from the three levels of government and 5,500 apprentices from the Youth Building the Future social program.

According to government data cited by ABC, Hurricane Otis damaged 80% of area hotels and 95% of businesses.

With reports from Milenio, Infobae and El Universal

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