Skirting collapsed rocks and trees that blocked the road, changing cars or walking through the mud, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador finally completed the journey to the port of Acapulco, on the Mexican Pacific coast, cut off and devastated by the onslaught. of Hurricane Otis.
Before arriving at the port on Wednesday afternoon, the president and his team encountered landslides that blocked the two main roads that lead to Acapulco, almost 400 km from Mexico City, where it will evaluate the damage caused by the cyclone.
The president’s convoy trudged along the road until it came upon a blocked area, with downed trees, and knee-deep mud.
It was then that the president tried to follow the path aboard a military jeep that got stuck.
Finally he decided to walk the kilometers that still separated him from Acapulco, followed by members of his cabinet. Behind him, the soldiers were trying to pull the jeep out of the mud.
“We are going to seek to open (the roads) as soon as possible,” the president said in a brief statement to the press aboard the truck that was taking him to Acapulco.
– “He dragged carts and poles” –
Along the way, López Obrador also spoke briefly with residents who had left the port or nearby towns on foot to look for their families due to the total absence of communications and transportation in Acapulco.
The testimonies of these people are an example of the devastating force of Otis.
“It felt very strong, it left us in shock because we couldn’t even leave the house, many people were looking for shelter, because the rivers rose a lot,” Israel Pérez, a 21-year-old baker, told AFP.
“It seemed like the sound of monsters coming from somewhere else, that are furious,” he said.
“This affects us a lot, because we go out to all the little towns (to sell bread),” he added.
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Eric Hernández was accompanying a family member to surgery at a clinic in Acapulco when Hurricane Otis hit. After the impact, the 24-year-old young man walked from the port to his town to see that his family was okay.
“We had to close the doors with what we found so that the crystals did not fly. We had to see how cars and posts dragged. The clinic’s floor moved. A very ugly thing that I had never lived in the time I have here.” Hernandez said in the middle of the mud that left the hurricane.
The young man added that once the hurricane passed he made the decision to walk. In the city he observed that there were looted stores, with people fighting over things.
“Acapulco was left in a total disaster,” says.
Without telecommunications in the area, the López Obrador government has not given a total balance of damages.
The governor of the state of Guerrero, Evelyn Salgado, said on social network X (formerly Twitter) that her administration is working to reopen roads and telephone lines, in what she called an “unprecedented scenario.”
The Mexican president was traveling together with the secretaries of Defense, Navy, Public Security and Civil Protection.
Otis strengthened in a matter of hours on Tuesday, forcing authorities to accelerate preparation work for Acapulco and surrounding areas, which have previously experienced cyclones such as the powerful Hurricane Paulina in 1997 that left severe damage in the port.
In the morning, López Obrador announced in his daily press conference that he had no reports of deaths but also acknowledged that there was no communication with Acapulco.