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Mexico's Tourist Hotspot Grapples With Floods, Crocodile After Storms

Death toll reaches 80 as Acapulco residents face a crocodile in the street, intense flooding and a lack of flights as provisions trickle in.<br>(Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images) 2013-09-19 01:13 PM EST Last Updated: 2013-09-19 01:20 PM EST
An evacuated family is transported on a truck along a flooded street in Acapulco, state of Guerrero, Mexico, on September 18, 2013 as heavy rains hit the country. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)
A crocodile on the streets in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco added to the woes of the locals as the government struggled to reach tens of thousands of people cut off by flooding that had claimed at least 80 lives.

A crocodile washed up from an overflowing lagoon in Puerto Marques, located to the southeast of Acapulco bay, after floodwaters wreaked havoc in the Pacific port, which has experienced some of the worst storm damage to hit Mexico in years.

Local residents eventually caught the crocodile using ropes.

Tens of thousands of people have been trapped in the aftermath of two tropical storms that hammered vast swathes of Mexico. More than 1 million people have been affected. There was no let-up in sight.

Acapulco's tourist trade was already grappling with a surge in drug gang violence, which earned the city the dubious distinction of Mexico's murder capital last year.

Torrential rains were spawned by two tropical storms, Ingrid and Manuel, which converged on Mexico from the Gulf and the Pacific over the weekend, triggering the flash floods.

Acapulco is struggling to cope with the downpour that has submerged vast areas of the city, choked its palm-lined streets with mud and stranded about 40,000 visitors.

Help is slowly trickling in with marines who distributed food and bottled water to flood victims.

Shops were plundered in the city's upscale Acapulco neighbourhood of Diamante, home to luxury hotels and plush apartments, where dozens of cars were ruined by muddy brown floodwaters. Marines were posted outside stores to prevent further theft.

Two of Mexico's largest airlines continued to run about two flights an hour from Acapulco's still-flooded international airport, with priority for those with tickets, the elderly and families with young children.

About 5,300 stranded tourists in Acapulco have been taken to Mexico City, said federal government officials.

Others with cars hope to get out of flooded Acapulco by road after the government has promised to reopen the highway on Friday (September 20).

Local resident Antonio Hernandez, said these storms were worse than Hurricane Pauline, which struck Mexico's Pacific coast on September 16, 1997.

"No, we're been here for several years. Not even Pauline did what this hurricane did this week," he said.

As the cost of the flooding continued to mount, the Finance Ministry said it had around 12 billion pesos ($925.60 million) available in emergency funding.

The rains pummelled several Mexican states, with Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan, Tamaulipas and Oaxaca among the hardest hit.

More than half of the deaths occurred in Guerrero, where Acapulco lies. Despite the loss of life, state Governor Angela Aguirre said the beach resort was "virtually back to normality."

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