08:13 GMT +324 October 2019
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    Hurricane Matthew: Millions Urged to Leave US Coast as Monster Storm Approaches

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    Over one million people near the coastline in South Carolina have been ordered to evacuate on Wednesday as deadly Hurricane Matthew makes its way toward the US. US President Barack Obama canceled plans to travel to Florida to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, instead receiving a briefing at FEMA.

    Leaving a path of destruction — particularly in Cuba and Haiti — at least 11 people have been killed as the deadly hurricane pounds through the Caribbean, with torrential rains and wind speeds in excess of 140 miles per hour.

    “This is the worst storm Haiti has seen in decades, and the damage will no doubt be significant,” Marc Vincent, UNICEF’s Haiti representative, said in a statement.

    “Waterborne diseases are the first threat to children in similar situations — our first priority is to make sure children have enough safe water.”

    Three of those killed were children in the Dominican Republic, who did not survive when the walls of their home collapsed in the storm’s high winds.

    The hurricane is expected to bypass the coast of Florida on Thursday evening, after passing directly over the Bahamas, though the precise path remains uncertain.

    On Wednesday, all flights to Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood & Palm Beach International airports were canceled.

    The National Guard has been deployed to South Carolina, where the coast is under evacuation orders.

    “We don’t do voluntary or mandatory anymore. An evacuation is an evacuation,” Governor Nikki Haley said at a news conference on Tuesday. He has urged residents to move a minimum of 100 miles inland.

    In Florida, Governor Rick Scott told residents to be prepared to evacuate, and declared a state of emergency.

    “Once this storm comes, we cannot put our first responders in harm’s way,” Scott said. “You must leave before it’s too late. You can rebuild a home; you can rebuild a business; you cannot rebuild a life.”

    “We have to be prepared to be hit by a catastrophic hurricane,” he said, warning that it could potentially bring “massive destruction we haven’t seen in years.”

    Speaking at FEMA headquarters, President Obama warned that if faced with a direct hit, Hurricane Matthew could have a “devastating effect” on Florida.

    Obama also urged Americans to “hope for the best but we want to prepare for the worst.”

    Related:

    Total of 300 US Marines Embark on Relief Mission in Haiti Amid Hurricane Matthew
    US State of South Carolina Declares Emergency Ahead of Hurricane Matthew
    Over 1,000 People Evacuated From Eastern Cuba Due to Hurricane Matthew
    Hurricane Matthew Batters Haiti, Heads Toward US for Direct Hit
    Florida Declares State of Emergency Over Hurricane Matthew
    Tags:
    Storm, Hurricane Matthew, National Guard, Barack Obama, Haiti, Cuba, South Carolina, Florida
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