MEXICO CITY — As the death toll continues to rise from twin storms that flooded much of Mexico, government officials are coming under intense criticism for their handling of the crisis, for failing to act on warnings and for allowing shoddy construction that exacerbated the destruction.
Angel Aguirre, governor of Guerrero, the hardest-hit state, has been singled out for chastisement since it was revealed that he was at an all-night party with other politicians as the storm bore down on his state’s tourism gem, Acapulco, and numerous mountain villages that would be cut off for days and where the most people died.
“It rained and it rained, and the governor drank and drank,” read one particularly harsh headline in Proceso magazine, which carried a photograph of Aguirre arm in arm with his party partners before a festively decorated table and with a full mariachi band in the background.
Aguirre has taken pains to make himself highly visible in rescue efforts and the distribution of aid. One photo showed him being interviewed by a journalist while standing waist-deep in floodwater.
Mexico was hit nearly two weeks ago by two storms that pounded its eastern and western coasts simultaneously: Tropical Storm Manuel, which did major damage to impoverished Guerrero and other Pacific states, and Hurricane Ingrid, which lashed the Gulf Coast, including Veracruz state.
According to the most recent figures released Wednesday by the federal government, 139 people were killed nationwide and at least 53 remained missing, most of these in the tiny village of La Pintada, in Guerrero, where a mudslide tore through the modest homes, burying everything and everyone in its path. Bodies are slowly being pulled from the mud, which is pushing the death toll higher days after the worst rains stopped.