Hurricane Ivan kills 24 in Grenada

from Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published on 08 Sep 2004
Mexico City (dpa) - Hurricane Ivan churned Wednesday past Venezuela with winds of 220 kilometres per hour on a path toward Jamaica after tearing across the island of Grenada, killing at least 24 people and severely damaging its capital.

The toll, which rose from three earlier in the day, was reported by the Caribbean news agency CMC, which cited local officials.

Twenty-eight people aboard three vessels were also missing off the Venezuelan coast.

Ivan swept through Grenada, one of the Windward Islands, causing "incalculable'' damage to the capital city, Saint George's, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency said. Among the buildings destroyed were the Emergency Operations Centre and the residence of Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.

The storm, described as "extremely dangerous'' by forecasters at the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre, was shifting in a west-northwest direction at 28 kilometres per hour. It was expected to pass to the north of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao in the Lesser Antilles and head to Jamaica.

The eye of the storm was located Wednesday night at 150 kilometres north-northeast of Curacao and 1,030 kilometres east- southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

The government of Jamaica issued a hurricane watch. Hurricane warnings remained in effect for Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, where the storm was expected to spark wave surges.

Ivan caused flash flooding and mudslides along parts of the Venezuelan coast. Heavy rains and storm surges of up to 4 metres damaged 60 homes on the shore.

Haiti issued a hurricane watch for its southeast peninsula from the border of the Dominican Republic westward, including the capital, Port-au-Prince.

On Tuesday, Ivan's winds damaged buildings in Barbados, Tobago and St. Vincent.

Forecasters said Ivan could eventually threaten Florida, which had already been battered by two hurricanes in three weeks, the latest, Hurricane Frances, lashing the state this past weekend. A total of 37 people did in Florida in both storms.

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