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Hurricane Irma: Over 5 million people ordered to leave Florida

Florida is also home to thousands of Indian-Americans

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

St. Thomas :  This image made from video shows damage from Hurricane Irma in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Hurricane Irma weakened slightly Thursday with sustained winds of 175 mph, according to the National Hurricane Cent
St. Thomas : Aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Over five million people, including thousands of Indian-Americans, have been asked to evacuate from parts of coastal after Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful Category 5 storm, barrelled towards the state after wrecking havoc on the islands.

Irma is expected to landfall in tomorrow, which at its current trend officials said, is likely to cause devastation across and surrounding areas.


Authorities in have ordered 5.6 million people - a quarter of the state's population - to evacuate, warning that those who do not leave cannot expect rescue services to reach them once Irma hits.

"It is not a question of if is going to be impacted, it is a question of how bad Florida's going to be impacted," said Brock Long, head of Federal Emergency Management Agency.

continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States, and either or some of the southeastern states. This is a complex forecast. Anybody from Alabama to North Carolina should be watching this storm very closely, Long said.

is also home to thousands of Indian-Americans.

In addition to thousands of federal employees, several thousand-military personals have been deployed by the Department of Defence to meet any eventuality in the aftermath of Irma hitting the coast of

"We need the people to listen to their local officials. But when we see evacuations taking place, what we try to do is break down the number that are going to need mass care support, and some of those numbers are well over 100,000 people in shelters for this event," Long said.

US President received a briefing on today. He "was given an overview of the recent impact of the hurricane on the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and neighbouring islands and the ongoing response efforts of the Federal and territorial governments," the White House said. A State of emergency has been declared in

Earlier in the day, Trump signed a legislation that provides an additional USD 15.25 billion in emergency appropriations for disaster relief and extends the authorisation of the National Flood Insurance Programme through December 8.

"Additionally, as the damage from unfolds, it is especially important that the men and women in the Southeast and our territories stand strong and rest assured that this Administration will always put the needs of the American people above partisan politics as usual," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders said Trump is constantly monitoring Hurricane Irma, and the federal government is working closely with state and local partners to ensure the safety of the coastal communities.

In his weekly address to the nation, Trump noted that this is a storm of historic destructive potential, and he's asking that everyone in the storm's path to remain vigilant and pay heed all recommendations from government officials and law enforcement.

"Our message to the American people is this: With gratitude for our first responders, and prayers for those in the storm's path, we are behind you 100 per cent," she said.

First Published: Sat, September 09 2017. 14:42 IST
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