ACAPULCO, Mexico – The Mexican government searched for victims and continued assessing the damage Saturday from the one-two punch of storms Manuel and Ingrid, as a missing Federal Police helicopter working on the rescue was found crashed. All aboard died.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City, criticism mounted all week in editorials and public commentary that the government had made natural disasters worse because of poor planning, lack of a prevention strategy and corruption.
Governments arent responsible for the occurrence of severe weather, but they are for the prevention of the effects, wrote Mexicos nonprofit Center of Investigation for Development in an online editorial criticizing a federal program to improve infrastructure and relocate communities out of dangerous flood zones. The National Water Program had good intentions but its execution was at best poor.
President Enrique Pena Nieto and Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre flew to the remote mountain coffee-growing area northwest of Acapulco near La Pintada, the scene of the single-greatest tragedy wreaked by the two storms.
Ingrid and Manuel pounded both of Mexicos coasts last weekend, killing at least 101 people, not including the helicopter crash victims. An additional 68 people remained missing in La Pintada, where soldiers continued digging after a landslide wiped out half of the town.
The storms affected 24 of Mexicos 31 states and 371 municipalities, which are the equivalent of counties. More than 58,000 people were evacuated, with 43,000 taken to shelters. Nearly 1,000 donation centers have been set up around the country, with nearly 700 tons of aid arriving so far to the state of Guerrero, by far the hardest-hit state.