U.S. Tourists Shocked at Inefficiencies of Mexico’s Disaster Relief

by Greg Pollowitz

Flooding has stranded an estimated 40,000 people in the Pacific coast tourist destinationAcapulco, Reuters reports. Many traveled there for the long weekend celebrating Mexico’s Indepdence Day on Sept. 16. Main roads in and out of the city have been blocked by landslides and parts of the airport have been flooded. Looters stormed abandoned retail stores, “stealing everything from televisions to Christmas decorations.”

A separate AP report noted that armed state police watched over a partially flooded – and looted – Costco store:

Hundreds of people waded through waist-high brown water in the store’s parking lot on Wednesday, fishing out anything — cans of food or soda — that looters might have dropped. Others shouted for the now-shuttered store to be re-opened.

“If we can’t work, we have to come and get something to eat,” said fisherman Anastasio Barrera, as he stood with his wife outside the store. “The city government isn’t doing anything for us, and neither is the state government.”

Beaches are covered in debris and people have been rescued via kayaks, ziplines, and other means, NBC reports. City officials estimate 23,000 homes in Acapulco – largely on the outskirts – are without water or electricity.

Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton told CNN that the city has been “practically incommunicado.”

Some passenger terminals in the airport are flooded and ticketing has been moved to a nearby convention center. The AP reports that two flights an hour started running out of Acapulco, giving “priority [to] those with tickets, the elderly, and families with young children.” Officials predict roads between the capital Mexico City and Acapulco won’t be reopened for days. . .