Mexico’s government on Wednesday unveiled a $3.4 billion recovery plan for the battered coastal resort of Acapulco, including tax breaks, humanitarian aid and reconstruction of infrastructure, and said it could spend more if necessary.
Hurricane Otis slammed into Acapulco last week, devastating homes, hotels and other businesses, severing communications and temporarily leaving the city of 900,000 people incommunicado.
The total investment needed for the recovery plan was estimated at 61.3 billion pesos ($3.42 billion), Finance Minister Rogelio Ramirez de la O told a press conference.
Otis left more than 100 people dead or missing, and the cost of damage could be as high as $15 billion, according to experts.
Widespread looting broke out in Acapulco after the hurricane. Mexico has sent thousands of armed forces members to keep order and help distribute food and supplies.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the government would raise more money for Acapulco if needs be.
“Fortunately, we have healthy public finances and unlimited resources when it comes to benefiting the people,” he said.
Many residents are still struggling to get food and water, and some have been reduced to washing in local waterways.
The plan will bring forward social welfare payments by two months, waive electricity charges until February and provide household necessities for families whose houses were flooded.
It also foresees the weekly provision of basic foodstuffs to some 250,000 families for three months, the president said.
Major retailers including Walmart de Mexico and Soriana were working with the government on the plan, he said.
The plan also included 10 billion pesos for rebuilding the city’s shattered infrastructure.
Acapulco and nearby Coyuca de Benitez will be exempt from paying taxes through February 2024, Lopez Obrador said.
Acapulco, a beach resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is set on a large bay backed by high-rises and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains.
Made famous by the jet set in the 1950s and ’60s, it’s known for its high-energy nightlife, beaches and golf.
From its iconic La Quebrada cliff, professional divers plunge 40m into a small ocean cove every day and night.
Tourism is the main economic activity of the municipality and most of this is centered on Acapulco Bay.
About seventy-three percent of the municipality’s population is involved in commerce, most of it related to tourism and the port.
Mining and manufacturing employ less than twenty percent and only about five percent is dedicated to agriculture.
Industrial production is limited mostly to bottling, milk products, cement products, and ice and energy production.
Agricultural products include tomatoes, corn, watermelon, beans, green chili peppers, and melons.