Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

12 Killed as Ivan Smashes into US

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

12 Killed as Ivan Smashes into US

Article excerpt

Byline: By Joe Wilson

Hurricane Ivan slammed into the southern coast of the United States yesterday, claiming at least 12 lives and causing widespread damage.

The storm's 130mph winds tore apart houses, felled trees and knocked out power to about half a million homes, while storm surges and heavy rains caused flooding.

Among the dead was an eight-year-old girl, killed when a tree fell on to her mobile home in Florida.

The storm began to weaken as it passed over land but it is expected to dump up to 15 inches of rain, which could create further catastrophic flooding.

Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were declared disaster areas by President George Bush. Florida was expected to join that list.

There was relief for the people of New Orleans, which faced destruction if it took a direct hit.

The city could have been swamped under a 20ft storm surge, mixed with a toxic cocktail of sewage, chemicals and natural gas from nearby facilities.

In the worst case, tens of thousands might have drowned in the city, which is below sea level.

But Ivan eventually came ashore further east over Alabama.

"We have never seen a hurricane of this size come into Alabama," said state governor Bob Riley.

Most of the deaths were in Florida when tornadoes spun off the hurricane and roared ashore.

Two people died and more than 200 homes were damaged when at least five tornadoes hit Bay County. Five more people were killed when another tornado levelled homes in Blountstown and an eight-year-old girl died after being crushed by a tree that fell on to her mobile home in Milton. Her parents escaped unharmed.

A terminally ill cancer patient, two nursing home residents and a housebound patient died after being evacuated from their homes in southern Louisiana.

Nearly 70 people were killed as "Ivan the Terrible" tore through the Caribbean in recent days. …

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