Flooded Acapulco hit by looting as tourists airlifted
By Allan Garcia, AFPACAPULCO, Mexico--Mexican military and commercial flights airlifted hundreds of tourists stranded in the flooded resort of Acapulco Tuesday, where thousands of looters ransacked stores after two deadly storms struck the country.
September 19, 2013, 12:25 am TWN
The official death toll rose to 47 after the tropical storms, Ingrid and Manuel, swamped large swaths of Mexico during a three-day holiday weekend, sparking landslides and causing rivers to overflow in several states.
Several regions were still being battered by heavy rains and floods. While Ingrid dissipated after hitting the east coast Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Manuel regenerated as a tropical depression south of the Baja California peninsula.
Officials said 40,000 Mexican and foreign beachgoers were marooned in Acapulco hotels after landslides blocked the two main highways out of the Pacific city, while knee-high dark water covered the airport's terminal, cutting off the picturesque resort city of 680,000 people.
Back in town, thousands of looters streamed out of the Costco wholesale store in the exclusive Diamante district, wading out of the flooded store with food, televisions and even fridges while soldiers and federal police looked on, AFP correspondents said.
“We are taking food to our children, there's nothing to eat,” said a woman hauling away grocery bags.
Other looters broke glass doors to enter shops in two malls, snatching home appliances and mattresses.
“We can't stop them. We are in a serious emergency situation,” a soldier said, declining to give his name.
Meanwhile, tourists and residents formed huge lines to buy food at three supermarkets that remained open.
Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong warned it would take two to three days to reopen the two highways out of Acapulco, which lies in the hard-hit southwestern state of Guerrero.
The airport terminal remained closed, but passengers were driven directly to the runway from a concert hall turned into a shelter and operations center for the airlines.