Search for hur­ri­cane sur­vivors con­tin­ues

More than 2,000 sol­diers help­ing with re­cov­ery op­er­a­tions amid dev­as­ta­tion

Daily Dispatch - - Worldnews -

Search and res­cue teams combed through shat­tered US com­mu­ni­ties at the week­end look­ing for vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Michael, a Cat­e­gory Four mon­ster storm which carved out a swathe of de­struc­tion in the Florida Pan­han­dle, killing at least six in three states.

In Mex­ico Beach, a seafront town where the hur­ri­cane made land­fall, houses had been razed by storm surge, boats had been tossed into yards and the streets were lit­tered with trees and power lines.

Florida Gover­nor Rick Scott said the storm had caused “un­be­liev­able dev­as­ta­tion” and the pri­or­ity for the mo­ment was look­ing for sur­vivors among res­i­dents who failed to heed or­ders to evac­u­ate.

“I’m very con­cerned about our cit­i­zens that didn’t evac­u­ate and I just hope that we don’t have much loss of life,” Scott told ABC.

The US Army said more than 2,000 Florida Na­tional Guard sol­diers were work­ing on the re­cov­ery op­er­a­tions.

There have been six con­firmed storm­re­lated deaths so far – four in Florida’s Gads­den County, one in Ge­or­gia, and one in North Carolina.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pledged to help storm vic­tims.

“We will not rest or wa­ver un­til the job is done and the re­cov­ery is com­plete,” he said.

Florida of­fi­cials said more than 400,000 homes and busi­nesses were with­out elec­tric­ity in Florida and Gover­nor Scott said nearly 20,000 util­ity work­ers had been de­ployed to re­store power.

Michael made land­fall on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon as a Cat­e­gory Four storm, the most pow­er­ful to hit Florida’s north­west­ern Pan­han­dle in since record keep­ing be­gan in 1851.

Michael has since been down­graded to a trop­i­cal storm as it moves through the Caroli­nas, which are still re­cov­er­ing from last month’s Hur­ri­cane Florence.

Mex­ico Beach, where the hur­ri­cane came ashore, suf­fered mas­sive de­struc­tion from the 250km/h winds and sev­eral me­tres of storm surge.

Home af­ter home was razed from its foun­da­tions in the town of around 1,000 peo­ple, leav­ing just bare con­crete slabs. Oth­ers were miss­ing roofs or walls. Roads were im­pass­able and canals were choked with de­bris.

A Mex­ico Beach res­i­dent, Scott, who rode out the hur­ri­cane, de­scribed the im­pact of the storm surge to CNN.

“When the wa­ter came in, houses started float­ing. We had fur­ni­ture in our house that wasn’t even our fur­ni­ture. The surge had brought stuff in.

“Our lives are gone here. All the stores, all the restaurants, ev­ery­thing.

“It’s hard to grasp,” he said. “This was never in our imag­i­na­tion.”

Michael was close to mov­ing away from the coast of Vir­ginia out over the At­lantic and be­com­ing a post-trop­i­cal low, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­tre said.

It warned of dam­ag­ing winds and pos­si­ble flash flood­ing in North Carolina and states just to the north and said the storm was still pack­ing winds of 50mph.

Long said many Florida build­ings were not built to with­stand a storm above the strength of a Cat­e­gory Three hur­ri­cane.

As it came ashore, Michael was just shy of a Cat­e­gory Five hur­ri­cane.

When the wa­ter came in, houses started float­ing. We had fur­ni­ture in our house that wasn’t even our fur­ni­ture

Pic­ture: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI

DEV­AS­TA­TION: Peo­ple walk along a main street fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane Michael in Mex­ico Beach, Florida, US.

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