Eerily low on tourists, Acapulco sees water, food shortages

A woman and a child stand near destroyed houses in Coyuca de Benitez, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, September 21, 2013. Still reeling from storms that killed more than 170 people in Mexico, Acapulco has evacuated thousands of tourists but no
A woman and a child stand near destroyed houses in Coyuca de Benitez, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, September 21, 2013. Still reeling from storms that killed more than 170 people in Mexico, Acapulco has evacuated thousands of tourists but now faces water, power and food shortages, officials said Sunday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AFP) - Still reeling from storms that killed more than 170 people in Mexico, Acapulco has evacuated thousands of tourists but now faces water, power and food shortages, officials said Sunday.

"The tourists who got stranded have been able to leave now almost completely," Guerrero state government spokesman Jose Villanueva told AFP.

The Acapulco metropolitan area has 670,000 residents, and more than 60,000 tourists were cut off by Hurricane Manuel's wrath here.

Because the storms swamped the airport and runways, tourists had to wait until authorities could get them out on an improvised airlift once the runways were open.

"At first, we had people waiting in long lines in order to leave, but people needing to get out were given preference and locals were offered free bus fares out through Sunday," Villanueva said.

But as of Sunday morning, the airport had reopened fully, according to Guerrero civilian protection authorities.

Once a favourite hotspot for Hollywood stars, Acapulco - with its hills and cliffs, divers and beaches - now is arguably one of Mexicans' favorite domestic travel destinations, even though drug violence has surged locally.

And the storm damage has wreaked havoc on the city's plans to get the word out that it is still able to cater to tourists.

"Mexicans need to know, and the world needs to know, that Acapulco is still standing and its tourism industry is still standing," President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Saturday.

Guerrero state Governor Angel Aguirre said that while infrastructure overall was in good shape, acknowledged the entire city is still lacking public drinking water, and power is out on the city's outskirts.

Local stores appeared to have raised prices on some basic commodities.

Fruits and vegetables were in short supply.

In shelters across the state, about 8,000 people already have been treated for acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, dermatosis and fever, health ministry officials said.