Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has lashed out at his critics in the wake of Hurricane Otis, which ripped through Mexico’s Pacific coast last week as a Category 5 storm.
Obrador took aim at those who said they were exaggerating the devastation caused by the hurricane, saying they were spreading false information. The storm has so far killed three dozen people, destroyed homes and other structures and flooded the cities of Acapulco and Guerrero last week.
“They are circling like vultures, they don’t care about people’s pain, they want to hurt us because there must have been a lot of deaths,” he said. Video message Posted on X, formerly Twitter, Saturday.
Otis took Mexico and forecasters by surprise after developing into a Category 5 storm Tuesday night into Wednesday last week with sustained winds of 165 mph. It was initially predicted to make landfall as a tropical storm, but instead became the strongest landfall in the eastern Pacific, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Obrador later suggested that some critics had misrepresented the death toll in his 24-minute video message, saying Defense Minister Rosa Isela Rodriguez was providing updated death tolls “without lying.”
As of Saturday, 39 people had died, Rodriguez said, noting that the cause of death was “asphyxiation due to drowning.” The death toll could continue to rise over the next two days as first responders continue to search the waterways for victims and survivors.
As the storm caught many by surprise, many people took to boats in what was expected to be a tropical storm. The government said on Saturday that at least 10 people were missing.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.