'Absolute monster of a hurricane'

The remains of an apartment in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, on Thursday. Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle, including Mexico Beach and Panama City, was left in ruins by the hurricane. The area is dotted with sm
The remains of an apartment in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, on Thursday. Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle, including Mexico Beach and Panama City, was left in ruins by the hurricane. The area is dotted with small, rural communities, some of them among the poorest in the state, and evacuation was difficult.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US residents, rescue workers assess loss, damage left in deadly Michael's wake

NEW YORK • A clearer picture emerged of the destruction left by Hurricane Michael yesterday, as rescue workers converged in flattened cities and residents returned nervously to their neighbourhoods.

The catastrophic hurricane, one of the most powerful to hit the United States, killed at least 11 people and raced through the South-east as quickly as it arrived, weakening to a tropical storm before blowing out to sea early yesterday morning.

More than one million homes and businesses lost power, hospitals were evacuated just as they were needed most and disaster responders searched the rubble for survivors.

"So many lives have been changed forever, so many families have lost everything," said Governor Rick Scott of Florida.

"Homes are gone, businesses are gone. Roads and infrastructure along the storm's path have been destroyed. This hurricane was an absolute monster."

At least 11 people have died, and the death toll is expected to rise as disaster workers and emergency medical personnel gain access to the hardest-hit areas. Many roads remain impassable.

Four deaths occurred in Gadsden County, west of Tallahassee, according to Lieutenant Anglie Hightower, a spokesman for the sheriff's office. The victims included a man who died when a tree crashed down on his home in Greensboro.

  • 11

    Deaths from the hurricane so far.

    1 million

    Homes, businesses that lost power.

An 11-year-old girl, Sarah Radney, was killed on Wednesday when a carport was torn away and was sent hurtling into the modular home she was in, said Mr Chad Smith, the coroner of Seminole County, Georgia.

It has been a tough few weeks for the Carolinas.

After thrashing the Florida Panhandle, Michael slogged through states still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Florence last month.

 
 
 

Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle, including Mexico Beach and Panama City, was left in ruins. The area is dotted with small, rural communities, some of them among the poorest in the state. Evacuation was difficult.

While dramatic photographs of coastal devastation have understandably drawn the most attention, some disaster experts are most concerned about the conditions further inland.

Mr Andrew Schroeder, research and analytics director for Direct Relief, said data analysed by his humanitarian organisation showed that people from the coasts had evacuated relatively short distances, to areas that the storm also raked with high winds and cut power lines.

"These are some of the most socially vulnerable places in the entire country," Mr Schroeder said, referring to low-income counties with high proportions of older adults, and many people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2018, with the headline ''Absolute monster of a hurricane''. Print Edition | Subscribe