Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hurricane Dean makes landfall in Mexico

Hurricane Dean has made landfall on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico at a category 5 storm. It is the first category 5 storm to make landfall since the devastating hurricane Andrew in 1992. It hit land with winds gusting at up to 300 kph near Chetumal at 04:30 local time. CNN International have been showing USA domestic coverage whilst BBC and Sky News continued with regular programming. However, the main headlines on both major 24 hour news station was hurricane Dean. The BBC gave the first 5 minutes at the top of the hour to the story before moving onto domestic news. Sky News also brought scant coverage with less than 4 minutes being given over to the story.

Many tourists have heeded warnings and left the area but an estimated 5000 UK tourists remain most of whom have taken refuge in their hotels. A further 15,000 other foreign nationals are also stranded in the area. Residents on the peninsula have little choice other than to brave the storm.

The hurricane has already caused devastation throughout the Caribbean as the storm swept through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. BBC 5 Live radio last night reported on the situation in Jamaica where looters were taking advantage of the widespread destruction. One woman who was speaking from the island said she had heard several gunshots and added that the storm had not affected the incidence of criminal behaviour. The storm has taken 12 reported casualties so far. It will only be at first light that the true damage may reveal itself [CNN].

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