US East Coast recovery underway

US East Coast recovery underway

The US East Coast recovery effort is now underway, following on from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene.

At least 21 people were killed, five million homes were left without power, several buildings were destroyed and remaining floodwater still poses a major threat.

More than two million people were ordered to leave their homes across the US east coast, as seven states declared emergencies.

But the damage caused in New York was not as bad as originally feared.

By the time it hit the ‘city that never sleeps’, Hurricane Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds below 65mph.

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It is estimated that the damage could cost £7.3 billion.

President Barack Obama has warned that the recovery effort will last for weeks.

Meanwhile thousands of holidaymakers were urged to leave the east coast.

Travel chaos ensued as transport systems and airports were closed and over 9,000 flights were cancelled – all during one of the busiest times of the year for tourists.

Flights to New York and Boston will resume today.

Hurricane Irene was the first hurricane to reach mainland America since 2008, when hurricane Ike reached Cape Fear in North Carolina and killed 50 people.

Irene was classified as a category-three hurricane, with winds of more than 120mph (192km/h), when it swept through the Caribbean, causing havoc last week.

The storm has now moved to Canada’s north-east.