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Cyclone Fiona kills two in Canada


Severe damage in Nova Scotia
©APA/AFP

Authorities say two people died in hurricane Fiona in Canada. The body of a 73-year-old woman who had been swept away by the floods was found in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on Canada’s east coast. According to local authorities, one person also died in the province of Prince Edward Island. Tropical Storm Ian, meanwhile, was upgraded to a Category One hurricane on its way to Cuba.

Storm “Fiona” reached Canada early on Saturday and caused devastation in the east of the country. Although the storm lost strength, it still brought winds of up to 130 kilometers per hour, heavy rain and waves up to 12 meters high.

More than 300,000 people were left without power on Sunday after “Fiona” knocked down trees, ripped off roofs from houses and also destroyed power lines. Hundreds of teams were in the repair operation. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter that he had met again with his crisis team to ensure that “resources are available to help those affected by the storm”.

“The devastation is immense,” said Tim Houston, Nova Scotia’s chief executive. “The magnitude of the storm is unbelievable.” Houston told CBC that the Canadian military had been sent to help with the cleanup. Several provinces have requested military support.

In Puerto Rico, meanwhile, a week after “Fiona” passed through, hundreds of thousands of people have not been restored to power. Around 44 percent of the connections still had no power on Sunday, according to a tweet from the electricity provider Luma Energy. According to the AAA water authority, the water supply had not yet been restored for 19 percent of the connections. Some people are still cut off from the outside world, said civil protection chief Nino Correa in a Facebook video.

Almost exactly five years ago, the devastating hurricane “Maria” hit the Caribbean US territory with a good three million inhabitants and cost the lives of almost 3,000 people. Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was still suffering after the center of Fiona made landfall on September 18 as a category one of five hurricane. Floods, landslides and destruction occurred. The US government promised quick help.

According to a statement from the Puerto Rico Department of Health on Saturday, quoted by local media, 16 deaths have been recorded in connection with Hurricane Fiona. One of them was directly and three indirectly caused by the storm, the remaining twelve are being investigated. Agriculture Minister Ramón González Beiró estimated the damage caused to agriculture at more than 100 million US dollars (103 million euros) on Sunday, as reported by the newspaper “El Nuevo Día”.

Tropical Storm Ian, meanwhile, was upgraded to a Category One hurricane on its way to Cuba. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Monday that the hurricane could “further rapidly intensify” later in the day. “Ian” is heading for the Cayman Islands and western Cuba with wind speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, it said.

Western Cuba was expected to be hit hardest, with the NHC expecting “significant impact”. The US state of Florida also braced for the storm’s arrival. The NHC issued a hurricane warning for the west coast of the southeastern US state, including Tampa Bay.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties on Sunday. “Expect a lot of rain, strong winds, flash floods, storm surges and the isolated tornado,” warned DeSantis. He urged residents to stock up on food, water, medicine and petrol and prepare for power outages.

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