The death toll in Mexico swelled to 97 today as Tropical Storm Manuel continued to tear through the country, briefly becoming Hurricane Manuel before returning to Tropical Storm status by the end of the day. The storms also brought crocodiles into the streets, further terrifying the thousands of people still trapped in the city.
In addition the 97 reported dead, an additional 68 went missing after Manuel, along with Tropical Storm Ingrid, caused a mudslide in the mountain village La Pintada Monday. Half of the village is now buried in mud, and no one who went missing has yet been found.
The Mexican government has drawn criticism for its handling of the disaster. As storms hit on Monday, Mexico’s Independence day, dozens of military vehicles that could have conceivably been used in evacuation efforts were instead being used for a military parade in Mexico City, where they weren’t particularly needed.
Meanwhile, in Acapulco, bridges are underwater, roads are blocked and the airport is closed. As a result, cargo ships are being contracted to deliver food to the trapped inhabitants. More than 10,000 tourists have been airlifted out the city via helicopter, but thousands more remain, and as if matters weren’t bad enough already, crocodiles have been spotted swimming the city’s streets since the storm hit.
This is the first time since 1958 that two severe storms have hit Mexico at the same time. According to Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Valdez, 100,000 people have been affected by Manuel and Ingrid in some manner or another.