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Hurricane Matthew moves into SC; serious flooding threatened

Remigio Civitarese | 10 Ottobre, 2016, 13:25

It caused extensive flooding, power cuts and damage to buildings in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. The National Weather Service said the top sustained winds had dropped to 75 miles per hour, barely strong enough to qualify it as a hurricane, though still capable of bringing heavy rain and flooding as the hurricane's bands passed through the Carolinas.

Hurricane-ravaged Haiti is struggling to cope with a rise in cholera cases with officials warning that contaminated water and a lack of hygiene are posing a risk to thousands of people in the impoverished country.

Hurricane Matthew continues to move north off the Georgia coast and its center is forecast to move near or over the SC coast Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center reports.

The stretch of the Atlantic Coast from Miami to Charleston, a almost 600-mile drive, encompasses some of the most well-known beaches, resorts and historical towns in the southeastern United States.

Barack Obama has declared emergencies in North and South Carolina, Florida and Georgia and ordered that federal aid be provided.

In Florida, nearly 879,000 were without power, according to state utilities, while in SC 433,000 had no electricity, Governor Nikki Haley said. He said the damage consisted of little more than several lost shingles, a lost awning and water seeping into one area. Beachfront businesses suffered moderate damage. Forecasters warned that the combination of a unsafe storm surge, the tide and large waves could cause rising waters to move inland from the shoreline to flood normally dry areas near the coast. A man in Savannah, Georgia was found dead in his house Saturday after a tree fell on it, police said. "We're all blessed that Matthew stayed off our coast", he said. He predicted most people would have power back by Sunday evening. Tony Williams, 54, who said he is homeless, rode his bicycle against huge wind gusts after spending the night in the garage of a bank.

"We got really lucky", he said. Millions of residents who evacuated the area began returning home late Saturday. "It blew like hell", he said. You have some commercial damage, but most of the damage to a lot of them is minor, " he said. Winds and the threat of tidal surges were expected to diminish through the day.

However, Frednel Kedler, a government official in Grand Anse told EFE that in the department's capital Jeremie, 420 people alone had died while 58 were missing. Matthew passed directly through Haiti's Tiburon peninsula - encompassing Haiti's entire southern coast - driving the sea inland and flattening homes with winds of up to 230 kilometre per hour and torrential rain.

Matthew left more than 100 roads impassable in the Charleston area Saturday morning, and damage assessments had yet to be completed in a large portion of the state, officials said. Iwo Jima, a second US Navy ship, was due to arrive on October 13.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders was flying personnel to Haiti by helicopter.

Officials in Florida, grappling with an outbreak of Zika, said they hoped the flooding would not worsen the spread of the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause fever and birth deformities.

Hurricane relief via the U.S. government-run USAID plans to fly in 480 ton of supplies as the United Nations estimates 350,000 people are in need of immediate assistance.

"This is a very, very serious and deadly storm, " Gov. He said he was "extremely concerned" about the public being lulled into complacency by the storm's downgraded classification.

The Category 1 hurricane was dropping 8 to 20 inches of rain in the Tar Heel State and southeast Virginia. Three-quarters of a million people in SC were left without electricity, and 250,000 were in the dark in coastal Georgia.

That's in addition to possible storm surges of 5 to 7 feet from Charleston to Cape Fear, North Carolina, the National Weather Service says.

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