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Los Cabos ‘under control,’ says Osorio

Federal forces now number 8,000 following reports of looting and insecurity after Odile

More than 8,000 members of federal forces, including 1,000 from the new National Gendarmerie, are now in Los Cabos, Secretary of State Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said today, and the security situation is under control.

Los Cabos is the municipality where most of the security problems have taken place since Hurricane Odile landed on the southern end of the Baja California peninsula on Sunday night. There have been many reports of looting; many big-box stores and other retailers had their shelves emptied.

There is “total control” now in Los Cabos, said Osorio Chong, including San José, which was the community where the worst of the problems were seen. There wasn’t a single report of criminal activity last night, he said. Nineteen people suspected of theft are currently in custody.

Federal forces are also in La Paz.

Food and water are being delivered “colony by colony, street by street,” said the federal cabinet minister, while restoration of electricity will take several days more. While Los Cabos was the most severely affected, needs are also being addressed in all five municipalities in the area.

In a report yesterday by the Cabo San Lucas-based Gringo Gazette, it was confirmed that three people are dead as a result of the storm. Two were executives from the El Boleo mine who died while trying to cross a flooded roadway, while the third suffered a heart attack.

At the La Paz airport, 1,000 people were waiting for flights out, and while no commercial flights were available, both Volaris and Interjet were ferrying out passengers at no charge.

Electricity had been restored to 70% of locations north of La Paz, the report said, and 40% in La Paz itself, while it is expected to take two to three weeks to restore power in Los Cabos. Almost 3,000 high-tension poles are down or damaged, but the Federal Electrical Commission has sent in 300 vehicles and some 1,000 workers.

Power is being supplied at the airport, hospitals and shelters with power plants.

Odile was the worst hurricane ever seen on the Baja California peninsula, destroying 8,000 homes, stranding nearly 30,000 tourists and inflicting heavy damage on hotels and other businesses and infrastructure.

Sources: Milenio (sp), Gringo Gazette (en)

Hurricane Odile: the story in pictures

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