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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 September, 2004, 03:27 GMT 04:27 UK
US takes stock of Hurricane Ivan
Site of fatal accident in Pensacola, Florida
A lorry driver died when his cab fell off a Florida bridge during the storm
The US authorities have begun a major relief operation as south-eastern states continue to assess Hurricane Ivan's deadly impact.

Reports of the number of people killed in the US vary, but the Associated Press agency says at least 33 died.

Ivan has also killed some 70 people in the Caribbean, with Grenada, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands worst hit.

President George W Bush has cancelled campaigning this weekend to observe relief work in Alabama and Florida.

But forecasters have warned that the hurricane season is far from over, with Tropical Storm Jeanne likely to strengthen over the weekend as it rampages through the Caribbean.

Jeanne has killed at least four people in the Dominican Republic - including a four-month-old baby - and two in Puerto Rico.

It is heading towards the Turks and Caicos Islands and the south-eastern Bahamas, where a tropical storm warning is in force.

Rescue efforts

President Bush declared Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana disaster areas as the authorities counted the cost of Hurricane Ivan.

Curfews were ordered in the worst-hit areas, while thousands of National Guard members were sent to help with rescue efforts and curb looting.

Cecelia Shaw makes her way through a pine-tree-crushed car and motor home to check on the welfare of her friend
It's a devastating picture so far and we have to assume that there will be more
Ian Logan
Red Cross
Florida already had the status of disaster area after being hit by hurricanes Charley and Frances over the past six weeks.

"It's sad," said Mr Bush's brother Jeb, the governor of Florida. "I don't know quite why we've had this run of storms. You just have to accept that."

Ivan crashed into the Gulf Coast on Thursday, hitting a swathe of territory from Florida to Louisiana with winds of up to 165mph (265km/h) at the height of the storm.

A series of destructive tornadoes spun off, ripping homes apart and flooding streets. The victims included an eight-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her house.

Near Pensacola, divers on Friday recovered the body of a lorry driver whose cab fell off a bridge that had been broken apart by the hurricane.

The trailer was perched precariously on the bridge, its front portion torn off.

Aid appeal

Electricity remains unavailable in much of the Florida panhandle, because of damage to power lines.

In neighbouring Alabama, more than 750,000 homes and businesses are also without power.

HURRICANE IVAN TOLL
USA: Up to 33 killed
Grenada: At least 37 dead
Venezuela: 5 killed
Jamaica: at least 20 killed
Dominican Republic: 4 killed
Cayman Islands: 1 killed
Tobago: 1 killed

Ivan has now been downgraded to a tropical depression, but its remnants battered the southern Appalachians on Friday.

On Thursday, the Red Cross launched a $4.8m appeal to help tens of thousands of people made homeless by Hurricane Ivan in the Caribbean.

The Red Cross aims to support 85,000 people over the next six months in Grenada, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba.

Operations co-ordinator Ian Logan told BBC News Online that conditions were especially bad in Grenada, where 90% of buildings have been damaged.

"We're looking at 60,000 people in Grenada who've lost everything, and that's out of a population of 100,000," he said.

He added: "We've already had three hurricanes in a row that were category four or five in strength. This could be a one-in-50-year season. It's a devastating picture so far and we have to assume that there will be more."




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