Hur­ri­cane Michael death toll hits 17

New Straits Times - - WORLD -

MEX­ICO BEACH (Florida): The death toll from Hur­ri­cane Michael has risen to at least 17 with fears it would con­tinue to climb yes­ter­day as search-an­dres­cue teams scour the de­bris of the Florida town that bore the brunt of the mon­ster storm.

“Mex­ico Beach is dev­as­tated,” Florida Gov­er­nor Rick Scott said of the town where Michael made land­fall as a Cat­e­gory 4 storm on Wed­nes­day.

“It’s like a bomb went off,” Scott said as he toured the town of 1,000 peo­ple on the Gulf of Mex­ico.

“It’s like a war zone.”

Res­cue teams were us­ing snif­fer dogs in Mex­ico Beach on Fri­day to search for vic­tims who may be buried un­der the rub­ble in the de­bris-strewn com­mu­nity.

US me­dia later re­ported one death in the town — an el­derly man found alone, ac­cord­ing to Mayor Al Cathey. Of­fi­cials said his body was found hun­dreds of yards from his home.

Brock Long, head of the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, said he ex­pected the toll to rise.

“I hope we don’t see it climb dra­mat­i­cally but I have rea­sons to be­lieve we haven’t got into some of the hard­est-hit ar­eas.”

“Very few peo­ple live to tell what it’s like to ex­pe­ri­ence storm surge,” Long said.

“Storm surge causes the most amount of loss of life.”

Eight deaths from the storm have been re­ported in Florida, five in Vir­ginia, one in Ge­or­gia and three in North Carolina.

The two deaths in North Carolina oc­curred in McDow­ell County when a car struck a tree that had fallen across a road, of­fi­cials said.

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