Two dead, 1.1 mil­lion with­out power in Florida

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

HCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP): URRICANE MATTHEW has weak­ened slightly as it pounds Florida and crawls north along the At­lantic coast.

At 5 p.m. EDT Fri­day, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said Matthew had sus­tained winds of 110 mph (177 kph), mak­ing it a very pow­er­ful Cat­e­gory 2 storm.

At one point, Matthew had reached the strong­est Cat­e­gory 5 des­ig­na­tion, but slowly weak­ened as it moved closer to Florida.

Au­thor­i­ties have re­ported that two peo­ple have died in the United States be­cause of Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

The Put­nam County, Florida, Sher­iff’s Of­fice re­ported yes­ter­day that a woman was killed and a man was in­jured when a tree fell on their camper dur­ing the storm.

Ear­lier on Fri­day, Vo­lu­sia County emer­gency man­age­ment direc­tor Jim Judge re­ported the death of a woman af­ter a tree fell on her house.

The storm left more than 300 peo­ple dead in the Caribbean, mostly in Haiti.

Of­fi­cials in Florida are cut­ting off all ac­cess to beach­side por­tions of Fla­gler County af­ter Hur­ri­cane Matthew washed away a por­tion of State Road A1A.

A news re­lease says emer­gency work­ers will be­gin en­ter­ing the area to res­cue those who did not leave.

“We don’t want any­one on the beach­side who doesn’t need to be there,” Fla­gler County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Craig Cof­fey said in the re­lease. “We need to be able to get in and as­sist those peo­ple who are in the most need.”

More than 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple are now with­out power in Florida af­ter Hur­ri­cane Matthew steadily grinded its way up the east coast.

State of­fi­cials re­leased up­dated to­tals late on Fri­day which showed that the pow­er­ful storm had knocked out elec­tric­ity over a long coastal stretch of the penin­sula. One of the hard­est hit ar­eas is Vo­lu­sia County, where nearly 258,000 cus­tomers – 92 per cent of all cus­tomers – were with­out power.

SOUTH CAROLINA CUR­FEWS

Sev­eral more com­mu­ni­ties on the South Carolina coast are im­pos­ing cur­fews as the winds and rains of Hur­ri­cane Matthew ap­proach the state. The worse of the storm is ex­pected to move in overnight, and Matthew is ex­pected to be just off Charleston about day­break as a Cat­e­gory 2 hur­ri­cane with 100 mph winds.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has de­clared a state of emer­gency in North Carolina as Hur­ri­cane Matthew wreaks havoc on the east coast.

The dec­la­ra­tion puts the Home­land Se­cu­rity De­part­ment and the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency in charge of dis­as­ter re­lief ef­forts in the state, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing equip­ment and needed re­sources.

Obama has al­ready de­clared states of emer­gency in Florida, Ge­or­gia and South Carolina, the other states in Matthew’s path.

About 20 or­gan­i­sa­tions col­lect­ing medicine, food, cloth­ing and build­ing sup­plies for Haiti at a Mi­ami-area ware­house sus­pended ac­tiv­ity on Thurs­day. Sandy Dor­sainvil is a Haitian-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity leader in Mi­ami. She says vol­un­teers eager to re­turn to work waited in long lines at the Mi­ami Gar­dens ware­house early on Fri­day.

The US mil­i­tary is also mo­bil­is­ing as­sis­tance for Haiti in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Matthew’s de­struc­tion.

The Navy said on Fri­day that it’s send­ing the Nor­folk, Vir­ginia-based USS Mesa Verde, an am­phibi­ous trans­port dock ship, to­wards the is­land, where hun­dreds are re­ported dead.

The ship is loaded with 300 marines from Camp Le­je­une in North Carolina, one land­ing craft and three large he­li­copters. The Navy said they’ll be able to quickly dis­trib­ute re­lief.

Lt Jef­frey Prunera said two other ships, the USS Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton air­craft car­rier and the USS Com­fort hos­pi­tal ship, are await­ing fur­ther orders in the South At­lantic to pos­si­bly help as well.

The mil­i­tary has es­tab­lished Joint Task Force Matthew to over­see its re­lief ef­forts. By Fri­day af­ter­noon, 170 per­son­nel and nine he­li­copters had al­ready reached the coun­try.

Res­i­dents charge their mo­bile phones for a small fee from a man with a por­ta­ble gen­er­a­tor af­ter all the power lines were de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Thurs­day. Two days af­ter the storm ram­paged across the coun­try's re­mote south­west­ern penin­sula, au­thor­i­ties and aid work­ers still lack a clear pic­ture of what they fear is the coun­try's big­gest dis­as­ter in years.

A girl lugs buck­ets of drink­ing water af­ter the pass­ing of Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti.

An of­fi­cial ve­hi­cle nav­i­gates de­bris as it passes along High­way A1A af­ter it was par­tially washed away by Hur­ri­cane Matthew, on Fri­day in Fla­gler Beach, Florida. Hur­ri­cane Matthew spared Florida’s most heav­ily pop­u­lated stretch from a cat­a­strophic blow on Fri­day, but threat­ened some of the South’s most his­toric and pic­turesque cities with ru­inous flood­ing and wind da­m­age as it pushed its way up the coast­line.

Lo­cal res­i­dents Michael and Tori Mun­ton make their way through the flooded streets of down­town his­toric Saint Marys, Ge­or­gia, as the storm surge from Hur­ri­cane Matthew hit on Fri­day.

David Laf­fita, 26, con­structs a makeshift clothes line as his wife, Ju­lia Elena Aza­hares, watches, stand­ing in the ru­ins of their home de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Bara­coa, Cuba, on Fri­day. Matthew hit Cuba’s lightly pop­u­lated east­ern tip on Tues­day night, dam­ag­ing hun­dreds of homes in the east­ern­most city of Bara­coa, but there were no re­ports of deaths. Nearly 380,000 peo­ple were evac­u­ated and mea­sures were taken to pro­tect in­fra­struc­ture.

Os­valdo Neira, 57, whose home was de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Matthew, bathes near the seawall in Bara­coa, Cuba, on Fri­day.

RIGHT: A boy re­moves mud and water from his house af­ter Hur­ri­cane Matthew flooded it in Les Cayes, Haiti.

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