WASHINGTON: Over five million people have been asked to evacuate from parts of coastal Florida after Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful Category 5 storm, barrelled towards the state after wrecking havoc on the Caribbean islands.
Irma is expected to landfall in Florida today, which at its current trend officials said, is likely to cause devastation across Florida and surrounding areas.
Authorities in Florida 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 Florida 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.
Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States, and either Florida 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.
Florida 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 Florida. US President Donald Trump received a briefing on Hurricane Irma on Saturday. 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.