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4 Deaths Linked to Hurricane Irma in Florida. Miami Dodged Bullet, Say Officials.

4 Deaths Linked to Hurricane Irma in Florida. Miami Dodged Bullet, Say Officials.

(BBC) – Search and rescue teams in Florida are swinging into action as daylight reveals the extent of damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma.

The huge storm weakened as it moved up the state’s western coast overnight but Miami and other urban areas have been battered and flooded.

In the islands of the Florida Keys, the local emergency manager has warned of a looming “humanitarian crisis”.

Media reports link at least four deaths to the storm.

Irma, which hit Florida as a category four hurricane on Sunday, has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.

It cut a devastating track across 10 Caribbean countries and territories, killing at least 28 people there.

By Jane O’Brien, BBC News, Miami

Miami dodged a bullet by and large. The eye of the storm did not hit the city but it did wallop the Florida Keys, of course, and that is where the concern is now.

Communications were pretty bad even on Friday. A number of people who had fled the Keys and checked into our hotel were struggling to keep in touch with relatives who had decided to stay behind.

Reports say that 10,000 people decided to ride out the storm. We do not know what state they are in now.

The first job rescue services will have to do is to test the integrity of the 42 bridges linking the Keys. If one of those is down, it could cause problems because it could strand any one of the islands.

The entire Keys are closed. There is no way of getting in there at the moment while the authorities assess the damage.

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