Thursday, September 19, 2013

México: Up to 80 Killed During Hurricane Manuel, Many Foreign Travelers Stranded

According to Reuters and The Associated Press, scores of people are dead and tens of thousands of tourists, including many Americans, were stranded on Thursday (September 19) after storm-whipped flooding and a massive landslide turned the tourist destination of Acapulco into a a bit of a wasteland.

As many as 80 people have died from flooding and mudslides since Hurricane Manuel lashed the Pacific coast over the weekend and Hurricane Ingrid hit the Gulf coast on Monday (September 16). Manuel, now a Category 1 storm, slammed the northern flank of the country just before 1000 hours Thursday.

Some 58 people were missing Thursday after a landslide tore through La Pintada, a coffee-growing village of roughly 600 residents in the mountains just two hours north of Acapulco, said Angel Aguirre, governor of the battered state of Guerrero. South of Acapulco floodwaters ravaged hotels and stores in Acapulco.

At least 40,000 tourists in Acapulco who have flocked to the sunny vacation spot in the state of Guerrero for decades, were stranded after the airport terminal was flooded.

Meanwhile, looters waded through waist-high water in Acapulco to ransack stores, making off with everything from televisions to holiday decorations, according to Reuters. Upscale retailers were plundered in the posh neighborhood of Diamante. Marines were posted outside stores to stamp out further looting.

COMMENT: Manuel, which made landfall in northern México, is expected to churn 75 mph winds and drop between 5 and 10 inches of rain over the state of Sinaloa, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

Residents of Acapulco came across a crocodile roaming the streets Wednesday after days of major flooding.

Both Acapulco and Guadalajara will in all likelihood suffer thunderstorms in the coming days, but they will probably be spared the worst of Hurricane Manuel, said Tom Moore, the coordinating meteorologist at The Weather Channel. He added that places directly in line with Manuel could suffer more than 10 inches of rain over the next 40 hours.

It is essential that foreign travelers always monitor weather conditions at their destination up to a week prior to travel and be prepared to select a calmer destination, if need be, in order to avoid chaos, closed airports and financial loss.

Late-breaking news: Reportedly, the Mexican Air Force is lending a hand in helping evacuate foreigners from flood-drenched areas where looting poses a serious threat to public safety.