OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
10:37 AM – Saturday, November 4, 2023
Hurricane Otis slammed into Acapulco, a famous Mexican tourist city last week, resulting in approximately 100 deaths and widespread devastation that may prove difficult to bounce back from as Mexico’s president announced hotels will not be given loans to rebuild.
On October 25th, Hurricane Otis made landfall on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico and was designated as a Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of 165 mph. It was the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Pacific side of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Storm experts estimate the cost of damage on hotels, homes, and other buildings could be as high as $15 billion.
On Wednesday, the Mexican government declared it intends to cover half of the interest rates on bank loans aimed to help reconstruct approximately 377 hotels that suffered severe destruction in the wake of Hurricane Otis.
However, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador clarified that government loans would not be extended to the hotels, which constitute the economic backbone of the region.
Given the hotels’ current lack of cash flow and the extensive renovations required to mend windows and walls shattered by the Category 5 hurricane, it remains uncertain whether private banks will be willing to provide financial assistance.
However, López Obrador unveiled a $3.4 billion relief package for the resort city. A significant portion of this funding will be allocated to compensation for damaged homes, temporary employment programs, and several months of free electricity for residents.
Additionally, the government plans to construct numerous barracks for National Guard troops in Acapulco, even though Guard officers were already present in the city but unable to prevent widespread looting of stores in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Some residents were unable to partake in their customary Day of the Dead observances at the city’s primary cemetery because they were preoccupied with searching for clean water, food, and power to charge their cell phones.
Acapulco resident, Nelly Valadez, had only had sporadic access to electricity since Hurricane Otis swept through the city.
Like many other locals, Valadez found herself unemployed and grappling with the scarcity of essential supplies. Nonetheless, she remained committed to upholding the cherished Mexican tradition of honoring departed loved ones during the Day of the Dead, which fell on November 1st.
“It’s very challenging due to the lack of employment and income, but I couldn’t let these days pass without paying tribute to those who have passed away, such as my husband and mother,” she expressed.
Valadez set up an altar with marigolds and candles in the corner of her home for Day of the Dead to honor her husband and mother who died of cancer.
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