Looting erupts after hurricane thrashes Mexico resorts

Looters ransacked shops in Mexico`s Los Cabos beach Monday after Hurricane Odile destroyed homes, flooded streets and wrecked hotels packed with tourists.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 16, 2014, 03:08 AM IST

Cabo San Lucas: Looters ransacked shops in Mexico`s Los Cabos beach Monday after Hurricane Odile destroyed homes, flooded streets and wrecked hotels packed with tourists.

Dozens of people, including children, ransacked stores for batteries and alcohol before troops arrived to stop the looting.

"I`m taking water for the children and food for the baby. You never know what can happen tomorrow," Osvaldo Lopez, 41, said as he left a store.

Odile crashed ashore Sunday, packing winds of 205 kilometers (125 miles) an hour, tearing down trees and power lines and ripping roofs off homes in Mexico`s Baja California peninsula.

It was listed as category three hurricane in the five-scale Saffir-Simpson scale, but weakened to a category one Monday as winds slowed to 20 kilometers (13 miles) an hour.

Even as the storm moved up the peninsula, the US Hurricane Center warned of more heavy rainfall and flooding.

As Odile tore through the resort town, downing electricity poles and tearing roofs off homes, thousands of people fled for safety.

Soledad Mayo, 52, sent four of her children to a neighbor`s home while she stayed in her wooden house with her husband.

"We spent the night standing there, waiting to see what would be left of our house. But look, it took everything," she said, surrounded by rubble.

Luxury hotels were also hit, cutting vacations short for foreign tourists who crowded into conference rooms for the night.

"I`m disappointed about my vacation, but above all my heart aches for the people from here who lost everything," said Tifani Brown, a 34-year-old American tourist who had arrived Sunday from California.

"It`s one thing to see hurricanes on TV. It`s another to live them," she said.

At several hotels, windows were smashed, rooms were flooded and palm trees ripped from the ground.

Gordon Peter, a 65-year-old US tourist, had been in Los Cabos for a week when his flight home was cancelled.

"I`m not afraid but I want to go home," he said before spending the night in a hotel lobby because he could not find another room.

Around 24,000 tourists and 6,000 Mexicans spent the night in hotel rooms that were transformed into shelters.

Another 7,000 residents were evacuated from the hardest hit areas, officials said.

Authorities cut power in some towns to prevent electrocutions, closed schools and called off independence day festivities.

Hundreds of troops were deployed and airport operations were suspended.

Steady rain soaked the peninsula and forecasters predicted accumulations of up to 30 centimeters (one foot) through Friday.

The hurricane hit the Pacific coast around the one-year anniversary of a twin tropical storm battering on both coasts that left 157 people dead.