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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Eerily low on tourists, Acapulco sees water, food shortages
by Staff Writers
Acapulco, Mexico (AFP) Sept 22, 2013


Tourists leave town after an alternate way to get to Mexico City was opened on September 20, 2013 in Acapulco, Mexico, as some 25,000 are still looking for an exit from the devastated city following heavy rains and floodings. Mexican authorities re-opened Friday the highway linking Acapulco to Mexico City, giving thousands of tourists trapped in the flooded Pacific resort for almost a week a new way out following deadly storms. Mexico is reeling from the one-two punch of tropical storms Ingrid and Manuel, which have left a trail of destruction that damaged tens of thousands of homes, flooded towns and killed around 100 people. Photo courtesy AFP.

Still reeling from storms that killed more than 170 people in Mexico, Acapulco has evacuated thousands of tourists but now faces water, power and food shortages, officials said Sunday.

"The tourists who got stranded have been able to leave now almost completely," Guerrero state government spokesman Jose Villanueva told AFP.

The Acapulco metropolitan area has 670,000 residents, and more than 60,000 tourists were cut off by Hurricane Manuel's wrath here.

Because the storms swamped the airport and runways, tourists had to wait until authorities could get them out on an improvised airlift once the runways were open.

"At first, we had people waiting in long lines in order to leave, but people needing to get out were given preference and locals were offered free bus fares out through Sunday," Villanueva said.

But as of Sunday morning, the airport had reopened fully, according to Guerrero civilian protection authorities.

Once a favorite hotspot for Hollywood stars, Acapulco -- with its hills and cliffs, divers and beaches -- now is arguably one of Mexicans' favorite domestic travel destinations, even though drug violence has surged locally.

And the storm damage has wreaked havoc on the city's plans to get the word out that it is still able to cater to tourists.

"Mexicans need to know, and the world needs to know, that Acapulco is still standing and its tourism industry is still standing," President Enrique Pena Nieto said Saturday.

Guerrero state Governor Angel Aguirre said that while infrastructure overall was in good shape, acknowledged the entire city is still lacking public drinking water, and power is out on the city's outskirts.

Local stores appeared to have raised prices on some basic commodities. Fruits and vegetables were in short supply.

In shelters across the state, about 8,000 people already have been treated for acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, dermatosis and fever, health ministry officials said.

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