Hur­ri­cane deaths rise

Herald on Sunday - - WORLD -

Search and res­cue teams have found at least one body in Mex­ico Beach, Flor­ida, the ground-zero town nearly oblit­er­ated by Hur­ri­cane Michael, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day as the scale of the storm’s fury be­came clearer.

The death toll across the South stood at 13, not count­ing any vic­tims in Mex­ico Beach.

Mi­ami Fire Chief Joseph Zahral­ban, leader of a search and res­cue unit that went into the flat­tened town, said: “We have one con­firmed de­ceased and are work­ing to de­ter­mine if there are oth­ers.”

Zahral­ban spoke as his team was wind­ing down its two-day search of the town of about 1000 peo­ple that was nearly wiped off the map when Michael blew ashore on Thurs­day with dev­as­tat­ing 249km/h winds.

As the cat­a­strophic dam­age across the Flor­ida Pan­han­dle came into view 48 hours later, there was lit­tle doubt the death toll would rise.

State of­fi­cials said 285 peo­ple in Mex­ico Beach had de­fied manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­ders.

Across the rav­aged re­gion, au­thor­i­ties set up dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres to hand out food and wa­ter to vic­tims. Sup­plies were brought in by trucks and he­li­copter.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced plans to visit Flor­ida and hard-hit Ge­or­gia. “We are with you!” he tweeted.

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