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U.S. death toll from hurricane Irene rises to 40

(Xinhua)

08:19, August 31, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irene has risen sharply to at least 40 as of Tuesday, as more bodies were pulled from floodwaters, according to state authorities.

Eleven states in the U.S. east coast reported deaths from Irene, which moved out of the U.S. territory Sunday night but left many states in a mess.

A total of 2.85 million customers still are without power due to Irene, the U.S. Department of Energy said Tuesday. An even bigger threat is widespread flooding caused by tidal waves and torrential rains.

In Vermont, the worst flooding in 84 years made many roads and bridges remain impassable. The state government began mobilizing helicopters to deliver food, drinking water and other essentials to those stranded by severe flooding.

Federal emergency officials began touring the affected states and assessing damages they suffered. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate on Tuesday visited North Carolina, Virginia and Vermont, and will travel to New York and New Jersey on Wednesday to survey ongoing recovery and response efforts on the ground following Irene, according to the White House.

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