Hur­ri­cane Michael toll mounts, res­cuers search for vic­tims

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - International -

SEARCH and res­cue teams faced a sec­ond day of sift­ing through the ru­ined land­scape left by Hur­ri­cane Michael on Fri­day as the death toll rose to 11.

Af­ter dev­as­tat­ing coastal com­mu­ni­ties in the Flor­ida Pan­han­dle, the rem­nants of the storm, now down­graded to a post-trop­i­cal cy­clone, killed five peo­ple as it passed through the U.S. state of Vir­ginia.

“Vir­ginia storm up­dates as of 7.00 am [1100 GMT Fri­day]. 5 con­firmed Michael-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties. 520,000 with­out power. 1,200 closed roads. 5 sus­pected tor­na­does,” the Vir­ginia De­part­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment said on Twit­ter.

The storm was over the open At­lantic, east of Nor­folk, Vir­ginia, early Fri­day af­ter lev­el­ing en­tire com­mu­ni­ties on the US Gulf Coast.

In Mex­ico Beach, a seafront town where the hur­ri­cane made land­fall, houses had been razed by a 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, you know, we don’t have much loss of life,” Scott told ABC.

The U.S. Army said more than 2,000 Flor­ida Na­tional Guard soldiers were work­ing on the re­cov­ery op­er­a­tions. Be­fore the lat­est vic­tims were re­ported, au­thor­i­ties had recorded four deaths in Flor­ida’s Gads­den County, one in Ge­or­gia and one in North Carolina.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pledged to help storm vic­tims. “Our hearts are with the thou­sands who have sus­tained prop­erty dam­age, in many cases en­tirely wiped out,” Trump said. “We will not rest or wa­ver un­til the job is done and the re­cov­ery is com­plete.”

Of­fi­cials said more than 400,000 homes and busi­nesses were with­out elec­tric­ity in Flor­ida and 20,000 util­ity work­ers had been de­ployed to re­store power. Michael made land­fall on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon as a Cat­e­gory 4 storm, the most pow­er­ful to hit Flor­ida’s north­west­ern Pan­han­dle in more than a cen­tury.

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