February 7, 2024
LifeNets is giving support to victims of Hurricane Otis which hit Acapulco on October 27, 2023. There are approximately 900,000 people who live in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. Many people work in the tourist part of Acapulco and depend on the tourists to make their living. The Mexican news stations first reported the abrupt hurricane at level eight with winds upwards of 225 miles per hour hitting Acapulco in the early morning hours. There was no warning.
In mid-November 2023 Messers Garcia, Hernandez, and Api left in the church van from the home office in Mexico City to Iguala to stay with the Aguilar family for the evening before going to Acapulco.
UCG-Acapulco, Mexico has approximately 28 members. There are currently two students receiving LifeNets scholarships to continue their schooling.
LifeNets has made an initial grant of $20,000 towards relief. Can you help us further? Tax-deductible donations can be made to
LifeNets Otis Hurricane Relief
5834 Cresswell Lane
Whitestown, IN 46075
or to PayPal at
Please check with your employer as your company may offer matching donations as LifeNets is a qualifying 501 (c) (3) public charity.
Currently, the materials for these projects are limited within Acapulco due to little to no materials in the city and the fact that everyone else is trying to rebuild. The closest city is Iguala, Mexico, which is four hours away. The next big city with materials is Mexico City, where most of the big materials would need to come from. The cost of materials in Acapulco has become expensive so that only those who can afford it can have it.
There are also concerns in Acapulco about the health issues due to the trash and debris that have been sitting on the ground and rotting. The trash, debris, and black water are also drying with the mud and now is being spread around in the air as vehicles go through the areas.
Report from Jessi Api dated December 3, 2023
Upon arriving in the outskirts of Acapulco, their first stop was to the Martinez family who live on a steep mountainside. They were afraid, as there was a lot of rain drenching the mountainside. They explained that a few meters directly above their residence is a large boulder that started to move down their mountain towards their house but was caught by one of the small trees. On the other side, the land in two spots, gave way to the rain and started to slide down towards another part of their house. They stated that the river below has been dry for some time but is now with water, which they call black water. Black water is very smelly because it has all kinds of refuse and debris in it.
Mrs. Martinez, while explaining their ordeal, smiled through her explanation of what they went through as the hurricane rumbled above them. They were in the bottom part of their house, which is made with concrete blocks, securing themselves and anything they were able to get in the room they had to be in. The rest of their things, as well as the other parts of their house, went flying in the wind and rain and was all over the place. They have one son who lives in this house also.
They showed us what they have tried to accomplish to return to a normal life. They have some animals. They are trying to rebuild but it is slow and work is very sparse. The people of Acapulco depend on the tourists that come to Acapulco for their lively hood. No tourist, very little monies. In this neighborhood, there seems to be many little stores that sell needed goods, it is said, that the people are afraid to buy in other places as they may be robbed on their way home. They explain that there is no power, little to no communications, no water, very little food, no materials to rebuild, no news as to when this tragedy might all end. We then presented them with basic items to help them get back to normal living. They, intern, thanked us, with all humbleness, for what they have received. We took pictures and said our good byes.
We move on towards Acapulco tourist area to get to the other side of the mountain where the other brethren live. On the way to the Barrios family house, we witnessed the main destruction of the tourist part of Acapulco. The buildings all around us are destroyed. The streets are littered with trash, debris, building parts, food products and much more. Everything smells.
In some areas, you can only get a single line of cars through. Many roads are blocked because of fallen trees fallen signs and fallen debris and mounds of trash. A few buildings are being worked on but the majority of all structures are waiting to be repaired. We saw one very large building that was flattened to the ground. On the way up to the house, we saw a very long line of people waiting for assistance from the government. They were yelling something like “we need food and water” as we drove by. They had been there since the very early morning and possibly the day before.
We are now at the Barrios house. It definitely looks different from the last time we were here. They greeted us with a smile and hugs all around. The Barrios are an older couple and have three children living with them. They described their adventure during the hurricane as they served us a snack, which looked like all they had was very little for themselves. We were shown there house areas which had been ravaged by the hurricane. Their kitchen was now outside, the things that were in their kitchen looked banged up, and the small appliances were definitely not working. The whole upstairs roof is gone. The whole roof that was over the kitchen is gone. They made a little make shift covering so that the heat would not bake them while in their outside kitchen.
The Barrios families thank God that they are still alive and that they have a place to rest out of the sun and the rains. They also have nothing. No power, no communications, very little to no food and no water. They went three weeks with not much of anything but still doing their part to get their lives back to normalcy. It is not there yet. They pray and wait on God and are happy. As Gabriel explains to the Barrios family of the good works program, I watched as they bowed their heads in humbleness by the act of God’s grace and the help of the United Church of God and the good works program. The cisterns are broken. The roofs are gone. The framing is gone. The kitchen, the concrete, the showers, the bathrooms, and the things needed to use in order to have basic life are gone or ruined. Five people live in this house. They are still happy. We take pictures and wish them well and safety.
We are now going to the Hernandez family house. They are an older couple with many with several children around them. They are currently staying in one room crowded with their things. As we all get into to their one room, they explain what they went through. They say that there have been many deaths in Acapulco. They said there was a landslide that killed many people in a lower part of a building that these people were in. Many people were hurt. There is black water flowing in the streets also smelling up the neighborhood. Trash and debris everywhere. Their kitchen is also outside along with the things that they were able to find. Two of the girls are living under a make shift roof. They are exposed to the outside air, which is dusty and full of dried unhealthy dirt mixed with trash, debris, and rotten everything. No lights, very little to no food, very little to no communications, no electricity, no medicine, and very little water. The mother and father have ailments, which Mr. Garcia anointed them for. The work is very spares as there are no vacationers. They explain that there was total destruction. Everything flying all over the place ruining everything around them. They think, because the winds and rain were so loud and destructive, that this may have been more like a category eight hurricane with winds reaching 225 miles per hour. Banks were closed. They had to go to the capital to buy foods and water and provisions. All of these houses need a full cleaning as water went everywhere in and around the houses. Many things need to be fixed and replaced to get them to basic living.
As Mr. Garcia presented them with the provisions, he explained the Good Works program and the LifeNets donations coming from the brethren within the United Church of God. We took pictures and said our good byes ad let them know we are praying for them. We are now visiting Olivia Venalize of the Ramirez family. She is a widow and was newly baptized shortly after her husband passed away. Mr. Ramirez was the one who helped Mr. Api with a condominium renovation in the tourist area of Acapulco. He was also one of the people who helped Mr. Api with his Spanish long words during a long sermon given at the Barrios house. She lives in her house with one of her daughters. She received us with a smile, hugs, and snacks. As she explains her ordeal during the hurricane, Mr. Api looked around to see what things happened in her place. She has made a make shift roof for the animals she still has. Looks like she tried to get many things into the house as she explains where she had to stay in the house just to be safe during the hurricane. With what she has left, she goes out and tries to help other people including some of the brethren around her. Although her things are all over the place, many things are gone, and there is very little water, communications, very little electricity, little food, and no materials, she is still smiling and thanking God for all that, she still has.
Mr. Garcia presents her with provisions. We take pictures and give hugs and then she goes with us to the last family that we will be seeing. We are now at the last family’s house. The house of the Roxanna and Victor Damian and her mother. She, her son, and her mother explain that the waters, wind, and rain blew through their house. Their things are a mess. She started cleaning the house. They have a make shift bathroom and kitchen. They are trying to get back to basics of life. No communications. Little power. Very little food and water. She works for minimum wage while her son is in school. There are two students going to school through life nets here in Acapulco. Although school is not in session due to the hurricane, they still study and help with the housework trying to get everything in order. She also thinks that this hurricane was stronger than what the government was saying it was as she explains the howling, rumbling, and loud noises due to things flying in the air and hitting whatever was in its path. The report about her place, according to Mr. Granados, is that her whole roof blew off and all of her things were taken by the hurricane winds. She has no power, communications, internet, water drainage, food, clothing, appliances, and she has nothing. She was at work at the time the hurricane hit. She works at a pharmacy, in the evening, which is open 24 hours a day. She has also been taking care of her parents during the daytime. Mr. Api does not know where she is living at this time.
On Sunday, November 26th, 2023, the new church van arrived at the Mexico home office. Mr. Garcia, Mr. Cruz, and Mr. Api removed the rear seats of the van to make room for the provisions we would be taking to Acapulco. Mr. Garcia and Mr. Api had the van tuned up and oiled and changed the old tires for new ones. We also received temporary paper work to travel in Mexico City and to Acapulco and back. Mrs. Garcia and Mr. Api went shopping for the provisions for Acapulco. It took approximately two days to buy all the provisions for the first trip to Acapulco.