Fears for trapped tourists

Floodwaters prevented passengers from using the airport’s terminal at Acapulco international airport.
Floodwaters prevented passengers from using the airport’s terminal at Acapulco international airport.

ACAPULCO – Some 40,000 tourists, cut off by landslides caused by Tropical Storm Manuel, are awaiting evacuation from the Mexican resort of Acapulco.

More than 2,000 tourists have been airlifted from the Air Base Seven military facility north of the resort.

Since the weekend, passengers have been stranded in hotels and at Acapulco’s international airport, where dark-coloured water covered the terminal.

Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel have left at least 57 dead.

Manuel was almost immediately followed by Hurricane Ingrid, causing widespread devastation in the east of the country. It was the first time since 1958 that two powerful storms hit Mexico within 24 hours.

Main roads out of Acapulco have been blocked by landslips, leaving tourists and local residents stranded in the city and along Mexico’s west coast.

At Air Base Seven, soldiers guarded families who waited for hours outside the base until they were allowed to board one of the few aircraft which would take them to Mexico City.

In Acapulco, passengers were being taken directly from shelters to the runway because the main airport terminal remained closed.

“I see everybody helping,” said Canadian tourist Michael Paliti, adding that he was “trying to get home as best as possible”.

“We’re desperate because we cannot return to our city or jobs. But for now, there’s still no hope of returning,” Isabel Duarte, another tourist, said.

Dozens of other towns in the south-western Guerrero state have also been hit by Manuel since it made landfall on Sunday.

There are fears that remote hillside communities may be particularly affected. Manuel has now dispersed over south-western Mexico.

In the east, Hurricane Ingrid was downgraded to a tropical storm shortly before it made landfall on Monday near the town of La Pesca.

More than 20,000 people have since been evacuated in the state of Veracruz. (BBC)

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