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Irene blamed for 40 deaths in US, Canada
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene is being blamed for at least 40 deaths in 11 eastern US states and Canada, officials and local media said Monday, as Vermont and upstate New York suffered disastrous flooding.

The toll includes six dead each in New Jersey, New York state and North Carolina, five in Pennsylvania, four in Virginia, three in Vermont, two each in Connecticut, Delaware and Florida, and one each in Maryland and Massachusetts.

One man in Canada, whose car plunged into a chasm after the road was washed away, and another person in Vermont whose companion also perished were missing presumed dead after being swept away by floodwaters, police said.

Most of the fatalities were caused by falling trees, road accidents, or people being swept away by floodwater as Irene, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone over Canada, wreaked havoc up the eastern seaboard.

The youngest fatalities were an 11-year-old boy killed by a falling tree in his apartment on the Virginia coast and a 15-year-old girl who died in a car accident in North Carolina when the traffic lights failed.

Six deaths were being blamed on Irene in New York state, including a man who was electrocuted as he tried to save a child who had gone into a flooded street with downed wires.

Another of the fatalities was a 68-year-old father-of-13 resident of the Bronx who was found dead in the water after he went to check on his boat in the marina.

Massachusetts reported its first death on Monday: a man electrocuted by a downed power line, emergency management spokesman Scott MacLeod told AFP.

A New Jersey rescuer died in hospital of injuries sustained on Sunday when he was swept away by floodwaters in Princeton. He had been on life support and was prematurely announced as dead on Sunday by Governor Chris Christie.

More fatalities are feared after Irene barreled up the east coast late Sunday into the densely populated northeastern states of Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and then on into Canada, dumping heavy rains.

Millions of people in the United States were still without power and officials warned that flood damage from the massive storm's heavy rains may be felt for days.

Irene earlier last week left at least five people dead in the Caribbean, including one in the US territory of Puerto Rico and two each in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

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Obama officials to visit hurricane zone: gov't
Washington (AFP) Aug 29, 2011 - Obama administration officials will travel Tuesday to Virginia, North Carolina and Vermont to survey damage and recovery efforts following deadly Hurricane Irene, the government said Monday.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to North Carolina to survey crop damage and then head to Virginia to review recovery efforts, a government statement said.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, will meanwhile head to Vermont -- the scene of widespread flooding sparked by the storm -- to tour hard-hit communities and meet local officials.

At the White House on Monday, President Barack Obama voiced concern about the flooding in Vermont and other states in the New England region.

"It's going to take time to recover from a storm of this magnitude," he said.

So far, Irene -- which was downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm status on Sunday as it barreled up the US eastern seaboard -- has been blamed for at least 40 deaths in 11 states and Canada.

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Hurricane Irene batters New York
New York (AFP) Aug 28, 2011
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