A soldier stands in a flooded neighbourhood in Acapulco.
Looting has broken out in the flooded Mexican beach
resort of Acapulco as the government struggles to reach tens of
thousands of people cut off by flooding that has claimed at
least 70 lives.
Stores were ransacked by looters who carried off everything
from televisions to Christmas decorations after floodwaters
wreaked havoc in the Pacific port that has borne the brunt of
some of the worst storm damage to hit Mexico in years.
Tens of thousands of people have been trapped in the
aftermath of two tropical storms that hammered vast swathes
of Mexico. More than 1 million people have been affected, and
Acapulco's airport terminal was under water, stranding
Shops were plundered in the city's upscale neighborhood of
Diamante, home to luxury hotels and plush apartments, where
dozens of cars were ruined by muddy brown floodwaters.
Marines were posted outside stores to prevent further theft.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't looting from need of food; it was
stealing for stealing's sake," said Mariberta Medina, head of
a local hoteliers' association. "They even stole Halloween
and Christmas decorations and an outboard motor."
Northwest of Acapulco in the village of La Pintada, rescue
workers have so far recovered the bodies of 18 people killed
after a landslide buried their homes, the local mayor said.
That death toll could rise further as locals reported that
more than 60 people in the area had gone missing.
Torrential rains were spawned by two tropical storms, Ingrid
and Manuel, which converged on Mexico from the Gulf and the
Pacific over the weekend, triggering the flash floods.
Manuel strengthened to a tropical storm again on the Pacific
coast on Wednesday, moving northwest toward the Baja
California peninsula, the U.S. National Hurricane Center
The storm is expected to hit land in about 24 hours, by when
Manuel could be close to hurricane strength, the NHC added.
Meanwhile, another area of low pressure over Mexico's Yucatan
peninsula had a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical
cyclone in the next 48 hours, and it was likely to dump more
heavy rains across an area already hit by floods and
As of Tuesday night, the Interior Ministry said 57 people had
been killed by the storms, and another three deaths were
confirmed on Wednesday. At least 10 of the deaths in La
Pintada had not been reported until Wednesday and it was
unclear if any of them were included in the government's
earlier total, bringing the total to at least 70.
As the cost of the flooding continued to mount, the finance
ministry said it had around 12 billion pesos ($925.60
million) worth of emergency funding to combat the disaster.
President Enrique Pena Nieto pledged to repair the damage
quickly and was due to conduct a flyover of affected areas on
the Gulf coast of Mexico later on Wednesday.
The poor weather forced state oil monopoly Pemex to evacuate
three oil platforms and halt drilling at some wells. A Pemex
official said its refining operations had not been affected
and that the company had seven days worth of inventory.
The transport ministry said all export terminals were open.
Since the weekend, the rains have pummeled several Mexican
states, with Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan,
Tamaulipas and Oaxaca among the worst affected.
Landslides have buried homes and a bus in Veracruz on
Mexico's eastern seaboard. Thousands were evacuated from
flooded areas, some by helicopter, and taken to shelters.
Tampico, one of the main Gulf ports north of Veracruz, also
suffered with dozens of homes hit by flooding as the Panuco
River burst its banks, forcing evacuations.
Alligators whose lagoons had flooded in the deluge swam into
the streets of Tampico though a spokesman for the state
government of Tamaulipas said they had done no harm.
"They don't bother the people," he said.
The port was still operating as normal, he added.
Acapulco, whose reputation has suffered due to a surge in
violence from warring drug gangs over the past three years,
remains the biggest worry for the government.
The port of 750,000 people is struggling to cope with the
downpour that has submerged vast areas of the city, choked
its palm-lined streets with mud and stranded some 40,000
Food and bottled water were scarce, and cash was hard to come
by after power outages knocked out bank machines.
"We waited for more than hour to get into a shop and only
managed to get instant soup, some tins of tuna and two
cartons of milk," said Clemencia Santana Garcia, 45, who
hawks goods on Acapulco's beaches. "This is going to get