Grieving Acapulco mother fears for future after breadwinner son’s death in hurricane

By Jose Luis Gonzalez

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – Since Hurricane Otis killed her fisherman son in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco last month, 69-year-old Manuela Garcia Estrada worries she will not be able to cope now that her main economic support is gone.

“He was the one who maintained me, he was the one who made sure I was well” said Garcia, fighting back tears as she took the body of her 47-year-old son, Hugo Sosa Garcia, for burial after he drowned in Acapulco bay during the storm.

Garcia, who has a surviving son who is disabled and cannot work, and another living elsewhere in Mexico, is one of thousands of Acapulco residents whose lives were shattered by Otis, the most powerful hurricane ever to strike the country’s Pacific coast.

She, Hugo, her disabled son and two dogs shared a house which she said had been “completely destroyed” by Otis.

“How will I rebuild it, what am I going to do?” she asked.

Wreaking havoc in the city of nearly 900,000, Otis, a Category 5 hurricane, killed dozens of people and left thousands more without roofs over their heads. Dozens more are still missing. Some business leaders fear the city will not recover until 2025.

On Monday, dozens of people marched through central Mexico City to protest what they saw as a lack of government support after widespread looting, power cuts and destruction of ATMs left supplies of food and water running low in Acapulco.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has launched a $3.4 billion recovery plan and pledged to get Acapulco back on its feet quickly. A few major supermarkets have begun reopening.

The Army has vowed to massively ramp up its presence there, almost tripling the National Guard’s deployment in Acapulco’s home state of Guerrero.

Garcia said her son’s death is still not sinking in.

“I’ll be waiting for my son to come home,” she said. “He always brought food: ‘What do you want to eat today, mom?'”

(Reporting by Jose Luis Gonzalez; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Sandra Maler)