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Police step up patrols in resort

Police stepped up patrols in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos, where looters stripped many stores of goods and tens of thousands faced a fourth day without water or power in the aftermath of Hurricane Odile.

Authorities told local radio officers would stop and question anyone they found on the streets after nightfall to make sure they had legitimate business at that hour. Officials stopped short of calling it a curfew.

The measure sought to allay security concerns after days of looting of everything from convenience stores to major retailers. Some residents worried that private homes could be next.

"People are running down streets with shopping carts, and you can see the desperation," Madelynn Pase, a 23-year-old Canadian living in Los Cabos, said.

"The supermarkets are all empty, so they're going to go to the next best thing."

She said people had been walking around at night shining flashlights into residences including hers, and she worried it could be would-be robbers casing potential targets.

She spent the previous two nights sleeping on the floor to make it seem like her place was abandoned, and therefore without any food inside.

After hammering the Baja California Peninsula and other parts of northern Mexico in recent days, the remnants of Odile took aim at the US south-west.

The US national hurricane centre said parts of Arizona and New Mexico could get 6 to 9 inches of rain and warned of possible flash flooding.

To the south, Hurricane Polo was off Mexico's Pacific coast and headed in the general direction of Los Cabos, although early predictions were for the centre to remain offshore.

President Enrique Pena Nieto's office said the government was working closely with state authorities on relief efforts in the areas battered by Odile, including restoring water and electricity.

It said more than 239,000 people had their power knocked out by the storm, but predicted 95% of electrical service would be restored in the coming days.

In Los Cabos, people helped themselves to food, water, soda and toilet paper at wrecked supermarkets. Some also loaded trucks with things like appliances, mattresses and patio furniture.

Long queues formed at tortilla shops and at stores selling ice as people tried to feed themselves and keep what food they had from going bad in the sweltering heat.

Queues also snaked from the couple of petrol stations still working. Customers were each limited to 150 pesos' (£6.75) worth of fuel, about three gallons.

At the Best Western near Los Cabos airport, guests filled buckets with pool water to flush their toilets.

Authorities said they had flown 5,000 tourists out of the region by yesterday afternoon. Officials estimated 30,000 travellers were stranded by the storm.

Government planes were also flying in water and other supplies.

The hurricane centre said Polo was moving toward a possible brush of Los Cabos by Sunday, though its core was projected to stay offshore.

The storm was 180 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 75mph. It was moving west-northwest at 10mph.

In the central Atlantic, Hurricane Edouard was forecast to remain far from land, although swells could cause dangerous surf along parts of the US east coast north of Florida.

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