News ID: 200430
Published: 0240 GMT September 12, 2017

Irma's US death toll rises

Irma's US death toll rises

Florida allowed some residents to return on Tuesday to areas hammered by Hurricane Irma’s high winds and storm surge, while the death toll rose in the second major hurricane to hit the United States this year.

Irma, which had rampaged through the Caribbean as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday, Reuters reported.

At its peak the storm prompted evacuation orders for 6.5 million people in Florida, the largest evacuation in modern US history.

Irma killed nearly 40 people in the Caribbean and at least six in Florida and Georgia.

A local Florida official said there had been more deaths yet to be reported, particularly on the Florida Keys, where Irma arrived as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour (215 km per hour) on Sunday morning.

Local authorities told around 90,000 residents of Miami Beach and from some parts of the Keys they could go home but warned it might not be prudent to remain there.

“This is going to be a frustrating event. It’s going to take some time to let people back into their homes particularly in the Florida Keys,” Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told a news conference.

FEMA was continuing to rescue people stranded by flooding around Jacksonville, in the state’s northeast, he said.

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