In the afternoon, he made his way overland to Acapulco, even though his cabinet officials who had traveled before warned him that the road would be difficult. The presidential motorcade got stuck in the mud and had to walk, with López Obrador in the lead, to the scene of the disaster.
Meanwhile, the governor of Guerrero, Evelyn Salgado, was not seen touring the affected communities.
At the time, criticism grew, accusing the federal government of not alerting the population in time about the risk that Otis represented. “They are irresponsible! They said they were monitoring it and, later, it was a surprise. They could have told people to prepare,” said Margarita Zavala, former PAN presidential candidate.
AMLO defended the strategy
In the face of criticism, President López Obrador defended his government’s response. “We did Warn,” he declared on Friday, October 27.
The National Meteorological Service (SMN) issued the first warning about Hurricane Otis on the morning of October 23, when it was developing as a tropical storm. At 4:00 p.m. on the same day, he held a press conference to explain the trajectory of the typhoon, which became category 1 at noon on October 24. In the afternoon on Tuesday, there was a new conference because Otis rose to category 2 SMN announced at six in the afternoon that it reached intensity level 3 and at nine in the evening, it was category 5.
However, an investigation by Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) revealed that the United States National Hurricane Center warned at least 10 hours of the destructive potential of Otis and urged the population of Guerrero to take shelter. Reportedly, these alerts are delayed by SMN.
“If we had more time, my brother would have fled Acapulco immediately, he would not have been able to face a category 5 typhoon,” said Zamaoya.
Jorge Zavala, director of the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change at UNAM, explained that there is a lack of information on the state of the oceans and atmosphere to warn about Otis. However, he emphasized, all the predictions failed, even those of the United States National Hurricane Center, where studies of storm-hunting planes are carried out.
“It was predicted to be a tropical storm and quickly increased to a Category 1 storm and increased to Category 5 in 12 hours, instead of 24. This increase should have been expected at least a day before,” he explained in a press conference.
The lack of service and food led to the looting of department stores and residents of other towns also cried out for help. In addition, state and federal governments began reporting different numbers of dead and missing persons.