Many still lack power in Los Cabos; storm toll 5

AP News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2014 6:15 PM
Many still lack power in Los Cabos; storm toll 5

LOS CABOS, Mexico (AP) — Authorities in northwestern Mexico were struggling to get power back on in the resort zone of Los Cabos a week after Hurricane Odile barreled through, saying Monday that electricity had been restored to 19 percent of customers in the area.

The news was better from other communities along the Baja California Peninsula where Odile hit with less force: The lights were back on for 95 percent in the northern part of Baja California Sur state, and 90 percent in the state capital of La Paz, according to the Federal Commission of Electricity, or FCE.

Meanwhile the Tourism Department said in a statement that nearly 27,000 people had been airlifted out on more than 200 special flights. It added that the heavily damaged Los Cabos International Airport was expected to resume normal operations starting Oct. 8.

Odile roared onshore in the southern tip of the peninsula late Sept. 14 as a Category 3 hurricane, devastating homes, stores and businesses.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong has said "practically not a single power pole" was left standing in Los Cabos, making re-establishing the electrical grid a daunting task.

The FCE said Monday that 3,900 employees were working in Baja California Sur to restore power, and 280 emergency generators were being used to provide the most essential services.

The previous day, authorities announced that the body of a drowned man had been found in a mangrove thicket near La Paz, raising to five the number of deaths attributed to the storm. He was identified as a 45-year-old British tourist whose wife also died.

Police and military were patrolling Los Cabos' tourist zones and guarding stores as basic supplies arrived to restock looted shelves.

At least 23 people had been arrested on suspicion of theft.

Ports reopened Sunday.