“I am near to the population in the area of Acapulco, in Mexico, hit by a very powerful hurricane,” Pope Francis said after praying the Sunday Angelus on October 29, 2023. At least 48 people have died and 36 are missing since Hurricane Otis hit the country’s southern Pacific coast on October 25, 2023.
“I am praying for the victims, for their families and for those who have sustained serious harm,” said the South American Pontiff from the window of the Apostolic Palace. “May the Virgin of Guadalupe, [patron saint of Mexico,] sustain her children in this hardship,” he added in front of the around 20,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Last Wednesday, the violent hurricane hit the Acapulco region, devastating many buildings in this seaside city. Hurricane Otis was rated as a category 5, meaning the highest strength, on the Saffir-Simpson scale of tropical cyclone intensity. In fact the hurricane hit with winds over 165 mph (266 kph) and has damaged more than 200,000 homes, along with 80% of the region’s hospitality industry.
Many areas of the region are extremely poor, with populations living in tin or cardboard houses, and thus the devastation was complete.