Recovery work has begun in Texas after Hurricane Ike brought destruction to the coast and America’s fourth largest city, Houston. The insurance industry reckons it will lead to claims valued between six and 13 billion euros.
More than a fifth of America’s oil-refining was shut down as the hurricane made its assault. Eight refineries show little sign of serious damage though, and those on the coast are reported to have escaped the worst of the flooding.
The Mayor of Surfside Beach, Larry Davidson, said: “I think we did better than we thought we were going to do. It’s not good, but it’s not terrible. So there’s a lot of work to be done. We’ll be back on our feet and we’ll survive. We’ve been through these before and it’s certainly not as devastating as it could have been.”
Some 4.5 million people are without power, and engineers say it could be several weeks before electricity is fully restored. Ike has now weakened to a tropical depression, but as it heads north and east, it is dumping heavy rain over a broad band stretching to Canada.
In the Caribbean, the actor Matt Damon and the singer Wycliffe Jean joined the relief effort to help the 800,000 residents of Haiti who have been hit by four tropical storms and hurricanes in recent weeks.