* Acapulco airport terminal waist deep in water
* Floods prevent some 40,000 visitors from leaving
By Alberto Fajardo and Luis Enrique Martinez
ACAPULCO, Mexico, Sept 17 Mexico's famous beach
resort of Acapulco was in chaos on Tuesday as hotels rationed
food for thousands of stranded tourists and floodwaters
swallowed homes and cars after some of the most damaging storms
in decades killed at least 55 people across the country.
Television footage showed Acapulco's international airport
terminal waist deep in water and workers wading out to escape
floods that have prevented some 40,000 visitors from leaving and
blocked one of the main access routes to the city with mud.
A torrential, three-day downpour cut off several roads into
the Pacific resort of 750,000 people, which was a magnet for
Hollywood stars in its heyday, but had the highest murder rate
in Mexico last year amid a surge in drug gang violence.
The flooding has disrupted deliveries of supplies, piling
fresh misery on a city heavily dependent on tourist spending.
The entrance to a main hillside tunnel into Acapulco was
completely blocked with mud.
The rains were spawned by two major storms that converged on
Mexico from the Pacific and the Gulf, triggering flash floods
that washed away homes and landslides in eastern Mexico.
Tropical Depression Manuel had faded but was strengthening
again on the Pacific coast on Tuesday, moving northwest toward
the Baja California peninsula. It was expected to become a
Tropical Storm again late on Tuesday or early Wednesday, the
U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Much of Acapulco's upscale Diamante district was flooded,
and tourists were unable to take cash out of bank machines due
to lack of power. Fast food outlets were also without power, and
insisted on payment in cash.
"I had to go to a pawn shop to leave some jewelry to get
money to be able to eat and pay for accommodation," said
Cristina Dominguez Navarro, who rented an apartment in Acapulco
with her family.
"We came with just enough money for three days and now we
have been here for five," she said. "I don't know what we'll do
if they don't open the motorway soon."
Some large hotels offered stranded guests a free night of
accommodation. But conditions were tough.
"They've started to ration food here," said Pedro de la
Torre, a 53-year-old graphic designer from Mexico City who was
stranded in a hotel in Acapulco. "People are starting to get
annoyed. I lost two cars, total write-offs."
Outside the hotel, guests waded to their waterlogged
vehicles in the hope of recovering whatever they could.
Since the weekend, the rains have killed at least 55 people
in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan
and Oaxaca, according to regional emergency services.
Guerrero, which is home to Acapulco, was the hardest hit
with at least 34 people killed in the state, emergency services
said. Some streets in the state capital if Chilpancingo became
rivers of mud and its mayor, Mario Moreno, said the city had
"The panorama is one of devastation," said Alejandro
Hernandez, a 40-year-old landscape gardener on vacation from
Mexico City, holed up in an Acapulco hotel with his wife and
"The hotel is no longer functioning as a business. The staff
is starting to leave. They have closed the front desk, switched
off the computers," he said. "All they have done is caused panic
by saying they are going to start rationing, turn off power and
Hundreds of people lined up outside supermarkets in Acapulco
waiting to buy food. Store shelves were empty in some other
areas of Guerrero state as residents stocked up and town mayors
called on the government to send emergency supplies.
President Enrique Pena Nieto said via Twitter he had ordered
a "house by house" census in Guerrero and told the federal
transport ministry to establish an air bridge to Mexico City.
Officials had considered using the airfield in nearby Pie de
la Cuesta to restart flights but airline officials said services
started to resume from the city's airport after rains abated.
The chaos began late last week when tropical storms Ingrid
and Manuel converged from the Atlantic and the Pacific,
drenching Mexico in massive rainfall that has hit around two
thirds of the country, according to the interior ministry.
Though both of the storms have dissipated, rain is still
falling in much of country and more than 1 million people have
so far been affected by flooding.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said rain caused by the
remnants of Ingrid could still produce life-threatening floods
and mud slides in a large part of eastern Mexico.
Landslides have buried homes and a bus in the eastern state
of Veracruz. Thousands were evacuated from flooded areas, some
by helicopter, and taken to shelters.
State oil monopoly Pemex evacuated three oil
platforms and halted drilling at some wells. A spokesman for the
company said output and exports had not been affected.
The rain has caused more than 5 billion pesos ($387 million)
in damage in the state of Guerrero, the local government said.