News / Americas

Looting Hits Acapulco as Mexico Floods Squeeze Supplies

People carry looted goods as they walk through a flooded street in Acapulco, Sept. 18, 2013.
People carry looted goods as they walk through a flooded street in Acapulco, Sept. 18, 2013.
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Reuters
— Looting broke out in the flooded Mexican beach resort of Acapulco as the government on Wednesday struggled to reach tens of thousands of people cut off by some of the worst storm damage in decades.
 
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 torrential rains that have killed at least 57 people across Mexico.
 
Tens of thousands of people have been trapped in the aftermath of two tropical storms that hammered vast swaths of Mexico. More than one million people have been affected, and Acapulco's airport terminal was under water.
 
Shops were plundered in the 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.”

  • People swim in flood waters in Culiacan, Mexico, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • A view of houses destroyed after a mudslide in the village of La Pintada, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • People move furniture through a flooded street in Tixtla, Mexico, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • People wade through waist-high water in a store's parking, looking for valuables, south of Acapulco, in Punta Diamante, Mexico, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A man uses a makeshift zip line to cross a river after a bridge collapsed under the force of the rains caused by Tropical Storm Manuel near the town of Petaquillas, Mexico, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • Cars are parked in a flooded lot of the airport in Acapulco, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A woman carries a child while walking through a flooded neighborhood in Acapulco, Sept. 18, 2013. 
  • People stand in a house flooded by mud after a mountain landslide in Altotonga in Veracruz state, along Mexico's Gulf coast, Sept. 16, 2013. 
  • Soldiers search for survivors after a bus and two nearby houses were buried by a mountain landslide in Altotonga in Veracruz state, along Mexico's Gulf coast, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A small chapel is engulfed in rock and mud from a landslide brought on by Tropical Storm Manuel's heavy rains on the outskirts of Acapulco, Mexico, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • In this photo released by Mexico's presidential press office, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto meets with people affected by Tropical Storm Manuel in the Pacific coast city of Acapulco, Mexico, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • People carry the belongings they were able to take after a landslide caused by heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Manuel destroyed their homes in Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, Mexico, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • People look for bodies and salvage belongings after heavy rains triggered a landslide in a low income neighborhood in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, Mexico, Sept. 16, 2013.

The rains were spawned by two tropical storms, Ingrid and Manuel, that converged on Mexico from the Pacific and the Gulf, triggering flash floods that washed away homes and caused landslides in eastern Mexico.
 
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 said.
 
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 mudslides.
 
State oil monopoly Pemex evacuated three oil platforms and halted 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 the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan and Oaxaca, according to regional emergency services.
 
Landslides have buried homes and a bus in the eastern state of Veracruz. Thousands were evacuated from flooded areas, some by helicopter, and taken to shelters.
 
Stranded tourists salvaged belongings from submerged cars in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco which had become a floodplain on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013.Stranded tourists salvaged belongings from submerged cars in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco which had become a floodplain on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013.
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Stranded tourists salvaged belongings from submerged cars in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco which had become a floodplain on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013.
Stranded tourists salvaged belongings from submerged cars in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco which had become a floodplain on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013.
Acapulco struggled to dig out of a three-day downpour which has submerged vast areas of city of 750,000 people, choked its palm-lined streets with mud, and stranded some 40,000 visitors.
 
Food and bottled water were scarce, as was cash because 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 ugly.”
 
President Enrique Pena Nieto ordered a house-by-house check on people's safety in Guerrero and the government said it had 6.3 billion pesos ($490 million) in emergency funds available.

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