Shocking pictures have laid bare the devastation in Acapulco after Hurricane Otis pummeled the city sending it spiraling into chaos.
The category 5 hurricane made landfall on Wednesday with winds topping 165 miles per hour, making it the strongest on record for a landfalling Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone.
The storm killed at least 27 people across the state and at least four people, including three Navy personnel, remain missing.
Now, the coastal city is dealing with the fallout of the devastating storm as widespread looting takes hold, forcing residents to block entrances and demand aid.
On Friday, villagers from outlying hamlets lined one of the only two roads leading into the resort, waving signs and desperately holding out arms asking for water, milk, diapers and medicine.
Residents hold help signs that read in Spanish “We need food. Support. We are homeless” two days after the passage of Hurricane Otis
Youths and their families stand on the side of a road asking for help following the devestating storm
The early images and accounts were of extensive devastation, toppled trees and power lines lying in brown floodwaters that extended for miles
The early images and accounts were of extensive devastation, toppled trees and power lines lying in brown floodwaters that extended for miles.
Resulting destruction delayed a comprehensive response by the government, which was still assessing the damage along Mexico’s Pacific coast, and made residents desperate.
Many of the once-sleek beachfront hotels in Acapulco looked like toothless, shattered hulks a day after the Category 5 storm blew out hundreds – and possibly thousands – of windows.
While some 10,000 military troops were deployed to the area, they lacked the tools to clean tons of mud and fallen trees from the streets.
Esteban Domínguez Bacilio, 19, said they were desperate ‘because trees fell on our houses, our children need to eat, we don´t have anything’ and ‘no authority has come’.
‘If we don´t get aid into Metlapil [a nearby village] and the other towns, we’re going to block the road.’
Dozens of angry residents of the hamlet of Lucio Cabañas, on the outskirts of Acapulco, carried out the threat of blocking the road.
They pushed past National Guard troops at a toll plaza and shoved traffic barriers across the remaining lanes into the city, holding up signs reading ‘we need aid.’
Dozens of angry residents of the hamlet of Lucio Cabañas, on the outskirts of Acapulco, carried out the threat of blocking the road
Satellite images show the before and after devastation felt at the marina following Hurricane Otis
Many of the once-sleek beachfront hotels, seen here, in Acapulco looked like toothless, shattered hulks
The speed with which Otis rapidly intensified took the government and weather forecasters by surprise, leaving little time to issue warnings and prepare for its arrival
Satellite view shows Arena GNP Seguros in the aftermath of Hurricane Otis earlier this week
‘We have gone three days without water, food, electricity, without anything,’ said protest leader Juan Andrés Guerrero. ‘We have been forgotten by everyone.’
The residents briefly blocked all traffic, before National Guard officials convinced them to let cars and emergency vehicles through in exchange for a promise of aid.
One motorist gunned a pickup through the roadblock scattering protesters, some of whom tossed rocks at the truck as it sped away.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has softly asked people to not take advantage of the situation by taking more than they need, promising help is on the way.
Despite this, residents cleaned out the city’s largest stores in three days.
Gasoline has been unavailable, not because there isn´t any, but because there is no electricity to operate the pumps.
On Friday, a line of hundreds of people ran outside a supermarket in a seaside working class neighborhood where men had broken open a gas pump and were filling up people´s empty plastic bottles.
Most families anxiously hunted for water, with some saying they were rationing their supplies. The municipal water system was out because its pumps had no power.
All the way down the city’s main coastal boulevard, department and grocery stores were left gutted, first by the hurricane and then by residents.
While some survivors of the Category 5 storm were seen ransacking bottled water, toilet paper and food out of multiple department stores, including Sam’s Club and Walmart, others were seen making off with items far from essential.
Shocking footage shows some making the most of the devastation by stealing electronic goods and homeware appliances, as the National Guard simply but did nothing to stop them.
The Guerrero government said that 95 percent of business in the state were damaged by the hurricane, leaving police and national guardsmen outnumbered as residents raided the stores.
People collect groceries in a looted supermarket as they desperately take supplies while others took more than the essentials
Brown floodwaters extended for miles in some areas. Many residents were taking basic items from stores to survive
Officials said they had established an ‘air bridge’ between Mexico City and Acapulco.
Medical personnel were flying into the commercial airport and stranded tourists were flying out.
Flights into the local military air base carried 40 tons of aid that the military is in charge of distributing.
President López Obrador said 1,000 government workers would begin a house-by-house census Friday to determine each family´s needs.
Some 10,000 ‘packages’ of appliances had already been collected by the government and were ready to distribute to families who need them, he said.
Aerial footage of Hurricane Otis’ destruction showed the beach resort waterfront completely ruined, with debris littering resorts and apartment buildings alike.
Entire walls of beachside high rises were ripped clean off. Hundreds of thousands of homes remained without electricity. People lacking even the most basic resources were emptying stores out of everything from food to toilet paper.
Miguel Angel Fong, president of the Mexican Hotel Association told the Associated Press that 80 percent of the city’s hotels were damaged.
Guerrero Governor Evelyn Salgado said that free transportation would be provided for tourists looking to leave Acapulco.
All the way down the city’s main coastal boulevard, department and grocery stores were left gutted, first by the hurricane and then by residents
Forecasters and meteorologists are baffled at how they did not see Otis’ catastrophic path coming.
The city was warned it would just be a tropical storm, but the usually-reliable computer models failed to predict its explosive intensification.
University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said: ‘It’s one thing to have a Category 5 hurricane make landfall somewhere when you’re expecting it.
‘But to have it happen when you’re not expecting anything to happen is truly a nightmare.’
MIT atmospheric sciences professor and hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel said that ‘the models completely blew it.’
McNoldy said there may be a mystery ingredient that scientists just don’t know right now, but water is key.
Forecasters and meteorologists are baffled at how they did not see Otis’ catastrophic path coming
Entire walls of beachside high rises were ripped clean off due to the intensity of the storm
Residents, standing on an overpass, look at damaged caused by Hurricane Otis, in Acapulco, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 27
Acapulco is at the foot of steep mountains – where luxury homes and slums alike cover the hillsides with views of the Pacific Ocean.
Once drawing Hollywood stars for its nightlife, sport fishing and cliff diving shows, the port has in recent years fallen victim to competing organized crime groups that have sunk the city into violence.
This has in turn driven many international tourists to the Caribbean waters of Cancun and the Riviera Maya or beaches farther down the Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca.
López Obrador noted that Otis was a stronger hurricane than Pauline, which hit Acapulco in 1997, destroying swaths of the city and killing more than 300 people.