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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Acapulco residents struggle to access food, medicine after Hurricane Otis


For 25 years, the Tres Hermanos Pozoleria in Acapulco, Mexico, served 64 litres a week of pozole: a rich, stomach-warming soup made of hominy corn.

It was a favourite neighbourhood haunt. Customers would belly up to the modest, brown-and-white tiled counter to order a bowl of soup, before settling into the dining tables nearby.


But on the morning of October 26, the Tres Hermanos Pozoleria disappeared. All that remained was its sign, inviting customers to a pile of rubble where tables and chairs once stood.

The wreckage at the restaurant reflected the devastation across the city as a whole. Acapulco suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Otis, a Category 5 storm that left at least 46 dead and 58 missing.

Just 16 hours before it made landfall, Otis was predicted to be a Category 1 storm, the lowest level on the five-tier scale. But the hurricane intensified rapidly, defying all forecasts.

When it struck Acapulco, it brought sustained winds of 270 kilometres (165 miles) per hour. Flood waters rose, power lines tumbled and the coastal city’s steep cliffs crumbled into mudslides.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States has called Otis the strongest hurricane to strike the Eastern Pacific since the advent of satellite forecasting.

“It was like a water tornado, spinning and eating things up,” said Lucia Transito, one of the owners of the Tres Hermanos Pozoleria. “We saw when everything was destroyed, but more than that, we heard it.”

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