US: Hurricane Leaves Deaths and Destruction Along East Coast

Posted August 29th, 2011 at 9:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Millions of residents of the east coast of the United States are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which has produced massive flooding and widespread power outages.

The storm made landfall in the southern state of North Carolina on Friday. Since then, it has killed 38 people.

Hurricane Irene caused havoc well after it passed into Canada late Sunday. In the landlocked northern state of Vermont, residents Monday were dealing with the worst flooding in a century.

Nearly 5 million homes and businesses in a dozen states were still without electricity, and power companies warned it might be a week or more before some people get their power back.

U.S. President Barack Obama has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government agencies to do “everything in their power” to help those affected by the hurricane.

The White House said senior administration officials will travel to the worst-hit states. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to North Carolina and then head to Virginia. While the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, will visit Vermont.

As the storm headed north, it forced the evacuation of two and a half million people and damaged roads, bridges and buildings with high winds and heavy rains.

Several airports were closed with thousands of flights canceled. Ground transportation in several areas came to a halt.

In New York, the city's subway system was shut down, an unprecedented weather-related event that left millions of residents without their main mode of transportation. But the city itself, America's largest, was spared from any major damage.

An expert in hurricanes says the cost and damage caused by these storms has risen many-fold in recent decades since millions of Americans have moved to coastal areas. The east coast of the United States is the country's most populous region.