At least 27 people have been killed and four others were missing after the powerful Hurricane Otis slammed into Mexico’s Pacific coast, officials have said.

Otis hit the beach resort city of Acapulco as a category 5 storm early on Wednesday and tore through the southern state of Guerrero, largely cutting off communications and road links with the region.

Images of Acapulco show roads full of mud and debris and buildings that sustained heavy damage. More than 500 emergency shelters were opened for residents.

Thousands of Mexican military members have been sent to assist with clean-up operations.

Secretary of State for Security Rosa Icela told reporters on Thursday that they received word from the state and city governments that 27 people are dead and four are missing.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that the deaths occurred around Acapulco but provided few details. He acknowledged that the government was late in arriving because of the havoc Otis left behind.

Lopez Obrador, who made it into Acapulco late Wednesday, said the destruction was so complete in the impact zone that not a single power line pole remained standing.

The Category 5 storm was one of the most powerful to hit the Central American nation in years.

On Tuesday, some residents were caught off guard as the storm quickly strengthened from a milder tropical storm to a deadly category 5 that hit the coast with winds of up to 165mph (270 km/h) in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The country’s defense ministry has said that nearly 8,400 members of the army, air force, and national guard have been dispatched to help.

Governor Evelyn Salgado said in a social media post that the government was working to restore electricity and drinking water pumps in Acapulco, a famous resort city on Mexico’s Pacific Coast with nearly one million residents. Schools remain closed for the second day in a row.

The city’s airport is also out of commission, with the storm wrecking the control tower and blocking road access.

By: Isaac Clottey

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