Caribbean Devastated as Irma Heads Toward Florida – The New York Times

Caribbean Devastated as Irma Heads Toward Florida – The New York Times

Saturday, September 9, 2017

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Extreme Weather By BARBARA MARCOLINI Play Video 1:12 ‘We Have Nothing Left’: Islanders Survey Irma’s Destruction

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‘We Have Nothing Left’: Islanders Survey Irma’s Destruction

Two residents from St. Martin island’s two nations, the French St. Martin and the Dutch St. Maarten, describe Irma’s destruction.

By BARBARA MARCOLINI on Publish Date September 7, 2017. Photo by Lionel Chamoiseau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Watch in Times Video »

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Read the latest with Friday’s live updates on Hurricane Irma.

SAN JUAN, P.R. — One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded crescendoed over the Caribbean on Thursday, crumpling islands better known as beach paradises into half-habitable emergency zones and sideswiping Puerto Rico before churning north. It is expected to hit the Florida Keys and South Florida by Saturday night.

More than 60 percent of households in Puerto Rico were without power. On St. Martin, an official said 95 percent of the island was destroyed. The Haitian government called for all agencies, stores and banks to shut down as the storm hit. Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda said that half of Barbuda had been left homeless.

Watching Hurricane Irma maraud across Barbuda and Anguilla, residents of Florida and others who found themselves on the wrong side of the forecast were hastening to get out of the way. Government officials in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina pleaded for people to evacuate vulnerable areas, triggering a scramble for the essentials — gasoline, water, sandbags — that, even for hurricane-hardened Floridians, was laced with dread and punctuated with dire warnings from every direction.

A shortage of gasoline and bottled water, always a headache in the days before hurricanes, grew more acute in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, as the production of Houston oil refineries shrank and fuel and water were diverted to Texas. Pump lines in South Florida sprawled for blocks as fleeing residents sucked up what gas they could, and some drivers chased after tankers they had spied on the roads.

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida urged extreme caution in the face of a powerful storm that could quickly change course. “Every Florida family must prepare to evacuate regardless of the coast you live on,” he said.

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By the time Rosi Edreira and her husband got the order to leave their home in Cutler Bay, part of the second evacuation zone in Miami-Dade County, they had already made plans to seek shelter in Charlotte, N.C. Into the car would go photo albums, birth certificates, nearly 400 Christmas ornaments collected over a quarter-century and their two dogs, JJ and Coco Puff, and cat, Dicky.


Felipe Martinez removed fallen branches in San Juan, P.R., on Thursday. Credit Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

“I did Andrew,” said Ms. Edreira, 49, recalling the massive Category 5 hurricane that ripped off her roof 25 years ago last month. “I’m not doing that again.”

By Thursday night, Irma’s 175-mile-an-hour winds and pelting rains had already serially ransacked the islands of the eastern Caribbean, leaving at least seven dead and whole communities flattened.

Not all the news was awful. Despite the loss of power to most of the island, damage and loss of life on Puerto Rico was far less than feared. Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, were also spared direct hits.

But the terror of the storm left people grasping for superlatives.

“There are shipwrecks everywhere, destroyed houses everywhere, torn-off roofs everywhere,” the president of the French territorial council on St. Martin, Daniel Gibbs, told Radio Caraïbes International.

“It’s just unbelievable,” he added. “It’s indescribable.”

In Puerto Rico — among Irma’s less unfortunate casualties — the lights were out. In many places, so was running water.

Though the hurricane barely brushed the island, it managed to knock out its aging electrical system. More than a million customers were without power on Thursday, and a little more than half of the hospitals were functional. Even before a single raindrop fell, the head of the company, which is effectively bankrupt, had predicted that if the storm packed a wallop, it could take four to six months to completely re-establish service. His prediction infuriated Puerto Ricans, who see the latest development as yet another shameful indignity in the island’s yearslong economic decline.

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Buildings were damaged by Hurricane Irma on the French side of the island of St. Martin on Thursday. Credit Lionel Chamoiseau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

How is it possible, they wanted to know, that a hurricane that had passed at a safe distance and hardly claimed a shingle could leave so many in the dark?

Puerto Rico’s plunge into darkness has been long coming. In July, the huge, government-owned power authority defaulted on a deal to restructure $9 billion in debt, effectively declaring bankruptcy.

It has neither modernized nor kept up with maintenance. Trees have gone untrimmed, poles unattended. (The electric company did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)

Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said the authorities could not estimate how long it would take to get the power back until officials were able to survey the damage.

Thursday afternoon he said service had been restored to 144,000 households — which still left nearly a million out.

Still, he said, things could have been much worse.

“We would like to start out thanking the almighty,” Mr. Rosselló said. “Our prayers were answered.”


Residents in Port St. Lucie, Fla., prepared for Hurricane Irma’s approach at Home Depot. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

On other islands, the reckoning was far more stark.

On St. Martin, a part-French, part-Dutch possession where at least four people died as a result of the storm, aerial footage taken by the military showed streets inundated with water and homes devastated by winds. The second wave of destruction, for businesses at least, was man-made: looters were picking through the remains, sometimes in view of police officers who stood idly by, “as if they were buying groceries,” said Maeva-Myriam Ponet, a correspondent for a television network based in Guadeloupe, another French Overseas Territory in the Caribbean.

St. Martin remained mostly isolated from the outside world on Thursday, lacking power and most cellphone service.

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Ms. Ponet, who reports for the Guadeloupe 1ère network, said the residents of St. Martin felt utterly neglected. “Help will arrive tonight,” she said, “but for the moment, they don’t have anything.”

The nearby island of St. Barthélemy, another French territory, was also hard hit, as was Barbuda, where half of the island’s residents were reportedly left homeless.

The network’s correspondent in St. Barthélemy, Eric Rayapin, described a “spectacle of desolation,” with the island all but severed from the outside world. There had been little or no phone service, water or electricity since Tuesday night.

Buildings have been “ravaged,” he said, and many roads have been destroyed.

“The population here is suffering enormously,” Mr. Rayapin reported. “Some of them have lost their houses, the cars have been flipped over in the middle of the street, and all vegetation has been destroyed.”

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Rue Kindred hung hurricane shutters on his home in White City, Fla., on Thursday. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

He added: ”It’s a very hard blow.”

John McKendrick, Anguilla’s attorney general, said that the island, a British possession, had suffered “huge devastation” from the hurricane.

Most of the island’s homes had been damaged, fallen trees had blocked many roads, cellphone service was interrupted and electrical service was cut. The entire island was still without power midday Thursday, and the ports and the airport remained closed. One person in Anguilla died, Mr. Kendrick said, though he did not know the circumstances.

“It’s been bad,” Mr. McKendrick said in a telephone interview from London, where he had been traveling when the hurricane struck the island. “A lot of people are exhausted and a lot of homes are damaged.”

He said the authorities were still trying to assess the full scope of the destruction.

In Haiti, the government called for all institutions to be shut down from noon on Thursday until further notice. President Jovenel Moïse urged people to get to a safe place.

“The hurricane is not a game,” he said.

The danger was not only of drownings and injuries from the storm. Officials worried that a surge of cholera could follow, as it did last year after Hurricane Matthew devastated the country’s southwest. Government reports show that cholera has killed 104 people this year. More than 10,000 peopl have died from the waterborne disease since it broke out in Haiti in 2010. In an effort to avert another flare-up, Haiti’s minister of public health urged people to add bleach to their drinking and bathing water and to assemble first-aid kits at home.

Among the deepest concerns of Mr. McKendrick, the Anguilla attorney general, was the approach of Hurricane Jose, declared a Category 3 storm on Thursday, which is expected to make its way through this same part of the Caribbean on Saturday. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for Antigua and Barbuda and a Tropical Storm watch was issued for Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius.

“A 137-mile-per-hour storm is on the way,” he said. “I’m not sure how the island can respond to that.”

In Miami, Elizabeth Chifari, 66, was determined to stay home with her white alley cat, Friday, and ride out the storm.

She would have gone to stay with her son, Andrew. But he lives in Houston.

“If they lived anywhere else,” she said, “I would’ve considered it.”

Correction: September 8, 2017

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the number of people in Haiti who have died from cholera since the disease’s outbreak there in 2010. More than 10,000 people have died since the outbreak, not 104. (That is the number who have died from cholera this year, government reports show.)

Frances Robles reported from San Juan, P.R., Kirk Semple from Mexico City and Vivian Yee from New York. Catherine Porter contributed from Haiti; Maggie Astor, Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Megan Specia from New York; Marc Santora, Emily Cochrane and Lizette Alvarez from Miami; Erica Wells in the Bahamas; Carl Joseph in Barbuda; Azam Ahmed in the Dominican Republic; Paulina Villegas in Mexico City; and Aurelien Breeden and Elian Peltier in Paris.

A version of this article appears in print on September 8, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Irma Razes Islands and Leaves Puerto Rico Dark. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

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Congress sends Trump disaster aid, debt limit increase

Congress sends Trump disaster aid, debt limit increase

Friday, September 8, 2017

8:32 PM

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Building is lit at sunset in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed and sent to President Donald Trump legislation providing $15.25 billion in emergency disaster aid, as well as raising government borrowing authority and funding federal programs through Dec. 8.

The House vote of 316-90 came one day after the Senate passed the measure. Lawmakers were rushing to approve the legislation before government disaster aid was projected to run ran out at week’s end and as the deadly Hurricane Irma was projected to bear down on Florida.

Trump is expected to promptly sign the measure into law.

(Reporting By Amanda Becker and Richard Cowan)

#IrmaHurricane2017 – Someone made this gif comparing 1992 Hurricane Andrew of to 2017 Hurricane Irma 2017 – Album on Imgur

Someone made this gif comparing 1992 Hurricane Andrew of to 2017 Hurricane Irma 2017 – Album on Imgur

Friday, September 8, 2017

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where is hurricane irma now

where is hurricane irma now

Friday, September 8, 2017

8:09 PM

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What you need to know now

· Forecasts: The National Hurricane Center will provide updated forecasts at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET.

· Where Irma is today: The Category 4 storm will mostly be over open water as it heads for the US. It may brush Cuba.

· Florida: Southern Florida is bracing for a direct hit early Sunday. The storm will drift over the entire state.

· Turks and Caicos: The catastrophic storm hit the island overnight.

Eden Hazard available for Chelsea’s trip to Leicester | Daily Mail Online

Eden Hazard available for Chelsea’s trip to Leicester | Daily Mail Online

Friday, September 8, 2017

7:45 PM

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Antonio Conte has confirmed that Eden Hazard is in the Chelsea squad to face Leicester this weekend after recovering from an ankle fracture.

The attacking midfielder has not featured for the Blues since last season after picking up an injury while on international duty with Belgium.

After coming on as a substitute for his country this week, though, Conte has confirmed he is fit and ready to return for Chelsea.



‘Eden is available, and he is in the list for the game tomorrow,’ the Chelsea boss told reporters. ‘I think he is improving a lot, and he worked very strong to be ready.

‘I think now I can count on him, but I have to decide the right moment and the right minutes. For sure, he is available now.

‘It’s normal [to be careful] when there is a surgery. It’s normal to pay attention to his recovery. Don’t forget, Eden is an important player for us. It’s important to play soon.’

what are the evacuation zones in florida

twhat are the evacuation zones in florida

Friday, September 8, 2017

7:35 PM

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With evacuations likely to be issued for some areas of the First Coast ahead of Hurricane Irma, it is important that you know where your evacuation zone is.


DUVAL COUNTY: As of Thursday, Mayor Lenny Curry has issued voluntary evacuations for Zones A and B before Friday.

Use the interactive map below, put your address in, zoom out and use the legend to find out what zone you are in.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY: As of Thursday, St. Johns County has issued mandatory evacuations for Zones A and B starting Saturday. Click here to find your zone by entering your address.

NASSAU COUNTY: As of Thursday, Nassau County has issued mandatory evacuations for Zones A, C and F, starting Friday at 6 p.m. Click here to find your zone by entering your address.

Other evacuations:

GLYNN COUNTY expands its mandatory evacuation order to cover the entire county starting Friday, Sept. 8 at 8 a.m.

CAMDEN COUNTY has issued a mandatory evacuation east of I-95 on Saturday, Sept. 9.

ATLANTIC BEACH has issued a voluntary evacuation starting Thursday, Sept. 7.

FLAGLER COUNTY has issued a voluntary evacuation at the Woodlands, coastal areas and Intracoastal and low-lying areas of western Flagler County near Dead Lake

TriviaHive | Results

TriviaHive | Results

Friday, September 8, 2017

5:43 PM

What food product do 83 percent of Americans buy on a regular basis?

· Coffee

· Spam

· Ice cream

· Peanut butter

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· Coffee 41.7%

· Spam 9.49%

· Ice cream 13.4%

· Peanut butter 35.3%

The taste of peanut butter has become a versatile culinary addition to snacks and foods, from traditional sandwiches to sophisticated dishes. The peanut was first known as far back as 950 B.C. in South America, probably Brazil. The Incas made peanuts into a paste, and peanuts are found in tombs of mummies in Peru. It’s believed peanuts found their way to the American colonies by way of trade with Spain. Source:

Peanut butter – answer

A reference to its famous monument, “Great Faces. Great Places” appears on the license plate of which U.S. sta te?

A reference to its famous monument, “Great Faces. Great Places” appears on the license plate of which U.S. state?

Friday, September 8, 2017

5:26 PM

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· Montana

· North Dakota

· Wyoming

· South Dakota

Answer: South Dakota is known as the land of "Great Faces. Great Places." It refers to the famous faces of the four American presidents on Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The state slogan was adopted in 1990 and can be seen on license places, promotional materials and some road signs. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and later by his son Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (in order from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

South Dakota – answer

NCI’s Douglas R. Lowy and John T. Schiller to receive 2017 Lasker Award | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NCI’s Douglas R. Lowy and John T. Schiller to receive 2017 Lasker Award | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Friday, September 8, 2017

3:20 PM

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News Release

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Credit: Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

Two scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will receive the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for their significant research leading to the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The award is the country’s most prestigious biomedical research prize, and will be presented to John T. Schiller, Ph.D., of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR), and Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., also in CCR and acting director of NCI. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Lowy’s and Dr. Schiller’s collaborative work to understand and prevent HPV infection has led to the approval of three preventive HPV vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“I’m incredibly proud of this much-deserved honor bestowed upon John and Doug for their foundational discoveries that led to the creation of HPV vaccines,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Thanks to their extraordinary efforts, we have the potential to eliminate cervical cancer and greatly reduce other HPV-associated cancers. This award reinforces the critical importance of basic research in the development of medical breakthroughs like the HPV vaccine.”

Efforts to develop these vaccines were spurred by an urgent public health need. Infection with certain types of HPV causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. More than 500,000 women around the world are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, many of them at relatively young ages. More than 275,000 women die from the disease annually, and most of these deaths occur in developing regions of the world. Without successful interventions, the worldwide incidence and mortality from cervical cancer is projected to increase indefinitely. HPV infection also causes anal, vulvar, vaginal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers.

While working to address the need to prevent HPV-caused cancers in the 1990s, a team led by Drs. Schiller and Lowy discovered that the proteins that form the outer shell of HPV could form virus-like particles (VLPs) that closely resemble the original virus but are not infectious. They found that these VLPs could trigger the immune system to produce high levels of protective antibodies that can neutralize the virus in a subsequent infection. The VLPs ultimately became the basis of the three current HPV vaccines: Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix.

Drs. Lowy and Schiller say this breakthrough was possible because of earlier discoveries, and that it demonstrates the importance of long-term, publicly supported basic research.

“People have known since the 19th century that cervical cancer behaved as a sexually transmitted disease, but it wasn’t until the discoveries of Harald zur Hausen and his colleagues that HPV was found to be the cause. Development of the vaccines built upon decades of publicly supported research,” said Dr. Lowy. “We’re honored to be included with the other luminaries who have received this prestigious award.”

It is estimated that widespread uptake of current HPV vaccines could reduce the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer by more than two-thirds. Researchers are currently working to find ways to encourage uptake of the vaccines by lowering costs and simplifying the logistics of vaccination, especially in the developing world where most cervical cancers occur.

“This year’s Lasker Medical Research Awards illustrate the power of biomedical investigation to advance human health, whether scientists probe basic questions that reveal unforeseen truths or pursue goal-directed projects,” said Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D., chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and chair of the Lasker Medical Research Awards Jury. “Douglas Lowy and John Schiller discovered that a single protein from the capsule of papillomaviruses can self-assemble into virus-like particles, paving the way for HPV vaccines that prevent cervical and other cancers.”

Drs. Schiller and Lowy have co-authored more than 150 papers over the last 30 years, and have been recognized frequently for their work. They received the Federal Employee of the Year Service to America Medal from the Partnership for Public Service in 2007, and the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award from the Sabin Vaccine Institute in 2011. In November 2014, President Barack Obama presented them with the 2012 National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Both researchers have noted how important it has been to their work to be part of the NCI intramural program, where scientists can do long-term, high-risk research that has the potential to have a major impact on human health. The program also encourages collaboration with specialists in many different scientific areas.

“When we started this research, we didn’t have a background in immunology or vaccinology, or clinical trials, so we greatly benefited from having access to scientific specialists who freely shared their expertise in these areas,” Dr. Schiller said. “These advances would not have happened without the many outstanding people we have worked with throughout the years.”

Since 1945, the Lasker Awards have recognized outstanding contributions to basic and clinical medical research and public service. Eighty-seven Lasker Award recipients have won the Nobel Prize, and more than 40 have done so in the last three decades. This year’s awards will be presented on September 15 in New York City.

About the National Cancer Institute (NCI): NCI leads the National Cancer Program and NIH’s efforts to dramatically reduce the prevalence of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI website at or call NCI’s Contact Center (formerly known as the Cancer Information Service) at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®