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Disasters

Tourists await Acapulco evacuation

Thousands of tourists stranded in Mexico's resort city of Acapulco are waiting for an opportunity to leave after landslides cut roads. Two tropical storms over the weekend caused massive flooding and left 47 people dead.

Vacation evacuation

Officials estimate that as many as 40,000 tourists remained stuck in Acapulco on Wednesday, with no real way of leaving except to wait for one of the few evacuation flights bound for Mexico City from Acapulco's flooded airport.

Two tropical storms, Ingrid and Manuel, from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, converged and dumped torrential rain on Acapulco over the weekend.

The storms have abated but rain has continued, triggering landslides that have blocked the main road into and out of Acapulco. Half of the city is flooded, and supplies are running short in the popular tourist destination.

Waiting to fly out

On Tuesday, commercial flights run by Aeromexico and Interjet shuttled some passengers to Mexico City, with existing ticket-holders getting first priority followed by families with small children or elderly travelers.

The flights are made more complicated due to the fact that the airport terminal is flooded and its radar system is not working, requiring all landings on the wet runway to be done using so-called visual flight rules.

Passengers are being shuttled directly to the runway from temporary shelters and check-in points.

Military flights were also running from a nearby base, but the number of seats on these flights are limited and did not come close to accommodating the number of people trying to leave.

The Mexican military has also set up an air bridge to deliver supplies to the cut-off city.

Road clearance - two more days

Officials have said it could take another two days for the road leading out of Acapulco to be cleared.

Dozens were killed as a result of the flooding, and thousands of homes have been left without electricity.

The flooding and persistent rainfall still pose a threat and more damage and possibly deaths are still possible, officials say.

mz/ipj (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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