Storm dev­as­tates Florida, toll 17

The Free Press Journal - - WORLD -

The death toll from hur­ri­cane Michael, one of the most pow­er­ful storms to make land­fall in the US main­land, has in­creased to 17, with coastal Florida cities dam­aged beyond recog­ni­tion, and homes, busi­nesses and agri­cul­ture torn or swamped from Ge­or­gia to Vir­ginia.

More than one mil­lion peo­ple were left with­out elec­tric­ity, and emer­gency of­fi­cials have no ac­cess to many towns, CNN re­ported on Satur­day. The toll is also ex­pected to climb as search and res­cue ef­forts con­tinue.

“I ex­pect the fa­tal­ity count to rise as we get through the de­bris,” Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brock Long said on Fri­day.

The 17 vic­tims com­prised eight from Florida, five in Vir­ginia, three in North Carolina and a child in Ge­or­gia.

Se­na­tor Bill Nel­son called the dev­as­ta­tion “the worst de­struc­tion that the Pan­han­dle has seen for how­ever long that I’ve been liv­ing. It’s akin to Hur­ri­cane An­drew in 1992 where ev­ery­thing was lev­elled”.

Aerial footage shows coastal cities in the Pan­han­dle, like Mex­ico Beach, wiped out, CNN said.

A psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal in Florida is iso­lated af­ter downed trees blocked roads around Chat­ta­hoochee, and a tree caused a wa­ter line to break. The fa­cil­ity is run­ning on power gen­er­a­tors, and he­li­copters have de­liv­ered food and wa­ter, the state’s De­part­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies said.

—AFP

A woman bursts into tears as she sees the dam­age caused by Hur­ri­cane Michael in Mex­ico Beach, Florida.

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