US Authorities to Airlift Supplies to Flood-Hit Northeastern Communities

Posted August 30th, 2011 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Authorities in the northeastern United States say they are preparing to airlift food and water to communities cut off by flooding from Hurricane Irene.

Emergency workers in the state of Vermont said Tuesday they will use helicopters to provide supplies to residents whose homes were swept away or submerged by the floods.

Irene first made landfall on Saturday in the southeastern state of North Carolina, before moving up the East Coast and weakening into a tropical storm as it reached the country's northeast. Inland areas in Vermont and the states of New York and New Jersey suffered the worst effects of the storm, with streams and rivers bursting their banks, flooding entire towns and washing away roads and bridges. Some rivers were cresting on Tuesday.

The confirmed death toll from Irene rose to at least 38 in 11 U.S. states. The storm crossed over eastern Canada Monday, leaving one person missing in Quebec province after floodwaters swept away his car. Irene also killed at least three people in the Dominican Republic and one person in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico as it churned through the Caribbean.

Utility companies were racing to restore power to millions of East Coast homes and businesses after the storm. The number of power outages declined to about three million on Tuesday, from five million a day before.

Top Obama administration officials were touring some of the worst-hit states on Tuesday to survey recovery efforts and provide help to local officials.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were visiting North Carolina and Virginia, while Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Craig Fugate was touring Vermont.

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