Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Mexico to pitch Acapulco aid plan as search for hurricane survivors goes on

ACAPULCO, Mexico: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday (Oct 31) the government would this week set out a plan to aid the stricken city of Acapulco after the beach resort was hammered by a devastating hurricane that killed dozens of people.

Lopez Obrador said measures to rebuild the city would be presented on Wednesday, and he floated the idea of drawing funds from 15 billion pesos (US$831 million) in trusts held for the judiciary that were cancelled last week by the Senate.

Hurricane Otis struck Acapulco with winds of 266kmh last Wednesday, flooding the city, flipping roofs from homes, hotels and other businesses, submerging vehicles, and severing communications as well as road and air connections.

The cost of damage from the hurricane could climb as high as US$15 billion, according to estimates. Mexico has sent some 17,000 members of the armed forces to keep order and help distribute tons of food and supplies in Acapulco.

“The 15 billion (pesos) should go the victims in Acapulco,” Lopez Obrador told reporters during a regular press conference, referring to the funds held in the trusts.

The move to scrap the trusts had already been politically contentious, as it followed a longstanding feud between the president and judicial authorities, which Lopez Obrador argues are corrupt, hostile to his government, and overpaid.

The government would not need to amend Mexico’s 2024 budget to cope with the Acapulco response, a Mexican official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mexico has scrambled to send supplies and keep order in Acapulco, where residents are still searching for missing loved ones since the Category 5 hurricane barrelled ashore.

Looting quickly broke out as the city’s population of nearly 900,000 became desperate for food and water after Otis, which slammed into the iconic beach resort with unexpected ferocity, far exceeding meteorologists’ initial forecasts.

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