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Cleanup Begins in Wake of Deadly Hurricane Ivan

BY Admin  September 17, 2004 at 2:00 PM EST

At least 20 deaths in the United States have been attributed to the powerful storm. Seven people died in northwest Florida after the hurricane, packing 130 mph winds, moved ashore early Thursday morning, causing a string of tornadoes.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without power as Ivan, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, surged from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas. Flash flood warnings covered parts of eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia and northern Alabama.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, surveying the damage caused by the storm, called reports from the barrier islands “heartbreaking.”

Condominiums on Pensacola Beach, Fla., were ripped apart and sucked empty, Reuters reported.

“Entire houses were taken off their foundations and disappeared because of the storm surge,” Bush said. “These are newly built, luxury homes that don’t exist now.”

President Bush has declared a disaster in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, clearing the way for federal aid. He is expecting to visit damaged areas on Sunday.

Ivan is the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States since Floyd in 1999.

In North Carolina, where as much as 8 inches of rain fell, flooding, landslides and auto accidents killed at least six people. More than 200 people who live near rivers were ordered to evacuate.

At least four people died in Georgia and two in Mississippi. Alabama emergency management officials reported one storm-related death, according to Reuters.

Before hitting the United States, Ivan caused at least 70 deaths in the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jeanne killed at least three people in the Dominican Republic Friday in flooding and mudslides. The storm is on a path toward southeastern United States, and possibly Florida, which has been hammered by three hurricanes within five weeks.

“People are just sick of it,” said Dennis Mace in Pensacola. He said he saw a sign that read, “1 Charley, 2 Frances, 3 Ivan, 4 Sale.”