Hurricane Ike may have lost its killer power, at least for now, but on the southern-most tip of Florida the storm protection is not being taken down just yet.
It is feared it could pick up wind speed again over the warm waters of the Caribbean and, on its present trajectory, it would slam into the Florida Keys. Local officials prefer to be optimistic.
“We escaped the bullet, thank God,” said Mario De Gennaro, Monroe County Mayor. “When you realise that two days ago we were facing a category four hurricane going over the seven-mile bridge, things have changed dramatically in our favour. I would like to reach out to everybody in Cuba and pray for them because they are taking the brunt that we might have gotten.”
The offshore oil rigs off the US Gulf coast, in the path of Ike, are shutting down and evacuating again. Ike was a category three hurricane when he hit Cuba. Several people have been reported dead and hundreds of homes were destroyed.
The government there does have a well-organised hurricane reaction plan. In Haiti that is not the case. More than 600 people have died in the triple whammy of hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike.
Aid workers claim many people have not eaten anything for nearly a week. The United States has sent a hospital ship with helicopters and amphibious vehicles to try to reach those stranded by impassable roads.