Michael's Death Toll rises to 13

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

The dev­as­ta­tion left by Hur­ri­cane Michael in sev­eral states is still com­ing into fo­cus, with coastal Florida cities de­stroyed be­yond recog­ni­tion, and homes, busi­nesses and agri­cul­ture torn or swamped in­land from Ge­or­gia to Vir­ginia.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands are left with­out elec­tric­ity, and emer­gency of­fi­cials have no ac­cess to many towns. The US death toll has risen to at least 13— in­clud­ing five in Vir­ginia and four in Florida—and it's ex­pected to climb.

"I ex­pect the fatality count to rise to­day and to­mor­row as we get through the de­bris," Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brock Long said Fri­day morn­ing.

Michael, which smacked Florida's Pan­han­dle as one of the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­canes to hit the United States, left Vir­ginia's coast as a post­trop­i­cal low early Fri­day—and its trail of de­struc­tion will take weeks to take into ac­count. Aerial footage shows coastal cities in the Pan­han­dle, like Mex­ico Beach, wiped out. Res­i­dents are walk­ing through de­bris, some as­sess­ing the dam­age and oth­ers try­ing to find food.

Dawn Vick­ers rode out the storm in Mex­ico Beach, but her house and ve­hi­cles were de­mol­ished. With­out cell phone ser­vice or trans­porta­tion, she has been tak­ing shel­ter in one of the few con­dos left stand­ing, in­vited by some­one she met at what's left of a gas sta­tion.

"This has been the worst night­mare I've ever been through in my life," she told CNN on Fri­day.

A psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal in Florida is iso­lated af­ter downed trees blocked roads around Chat­ta­hoochee, and a tree caused a wa­ter line to break. The fa­cil­ity is run­ning on power gen­er­a­tors, and he­li­copters have de­liv­ered food and wa­ter, the state's De­part­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies said.


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