Acapulco’s Slow Recovery Post-Hurricane Otis Sparks Economic Fears

Acapulco's Slow Recovery Post-Hurricane Otis Sparks Economic Fears

Acapulco, Mexico – November 27, 2023

A month after Hurricane Otis wreaked havoc on Acapulco, fears for the local economy are intensifying as businesses express concerns about the sluggish pace of recovery, jeopardizing the crucial December tourist season.

“Hurricane Otis,” the most powerful hurricane ever to strike Mexico’s Pacific coast, made landfall in “Acapulco” on October 25, causing extensive devastation, claiming a minimum of 50 lives, and resulting in losses amounting to billions of dollars, accompanied by widespread looting.

Criticism has been directed at the sluggish pace of efforts to restore the damage, with residents still in search of missing family members. President “Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,” despite acknowledging an official death toll, which some locals believe is considerably higher, has dismissed unconfirmed reports suggesting fatalities exceeding 300.

In response to the catastrophe, “Lopez Obrador” has initiated a $3.4 billion recovery plan to accelerate “Acapulco’s” rehabilitation. However, local businesses express urgency, especially with the imminent arrival of the December tourist season.

“Acapulco” relies on just three seasons: December, Easter, and a bit of summer. December is the most anticipated, and we won’t be fully operational by then,” stated Jesus Zamora, head of infrastructure for a local tourism body. “Even if we wanted to host more tourists, we won’t have more than 50% of hotels operational.”

Business groups estimate the damage in “Acapulco” to be around $16 billion, dealing a significant blow to the largest city in “Guerrero,” one of Mexico’s most economically challenged states. The hurricane severely impacted “Acapulco’s” airport, and the resumption of international flights is not anticipated until the following year. Some business leaders express concerns that the city may not achieve full recovery until 2025.

Roberto Buenfil, associated with an event-organizing company, highlighted the impact on those in the events industry, stating, “People who work on social events, beach weddings, and conventions have been unemployed since that day. Everything planned for these last months of the year is no longer happening.”

Compounding the challenges, security forces are currently grappling with the cleanup of trash in certain areas. While the collection of 221,000 tons of waste, outlying neighborhoods like Renacimiento and Emiliano Zapata continue to struggle with the piling up of garbage, causing concerns among local residents about the lingering smell of rotting waste.

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