Throughout the southeastern U.S., people are bracing for the worst as Hurricane Matthew lands on Florida’s eastern coast. The worst conditions are expected to hit the state tonight (October 7). The Category 3 hurricane—with wind gusts over 100 miles per hour—will pass Georgia, South Carolina and southern North Carolina at least through Saturday night, according to The Weather Channel.
In the Caribbean, over 400 people have died, reports BBC. In Florida, dangerous winds prevented emergency officials from helping a woman in her late 50s who suffered from cardiac arrest. She passed away. About 600,000 people are without power in the state, according to ABC News. This morning, President Barack Obama spoke in the Oval Office, reminding the country of what happened when Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, warning them that Matthew is not over.
According to ABC News, he said:
“Many of you will remember Hurricane Sandy where initially people thought this doesn’t look as bad as we thought and then suddenly you get massive storm surge and a lot of people were severely affected,” Obama said. “We’re still on the front end of this hurricane, we’re not on the back end. So we don’t know how bad the damage could end up, we don’t know how severe the storm surge could end up being. And we’re not going to know for three, four, five days what the ultimate effects of this are.”
An estimated 610,000 undocumented immigrants call Florida home, according to Migration Policy Institute. As ThinkProgress reports, undocumented immigrants are prohibited from receiving certain assistance, left to mostly fend for themselves in the long run after disaster strikes.
The news site wrote:
“All individuals, regardless of citizenship status, that have been impacted by a Hurricane are eligible for short-term, non-cash, in-kind emergency disaster relief programs,” a FEMA spokesperson told ThinkProgress via email. Programs include search and rescue, medical care, shelter, food and water, as well as “Disaster Legal Services and Crisis Counseling.”
Hurricane Matthew is the fifth hurricane to touch the Atlantic Ocean this season. And as climate change is increasing, there will be a frequency and intensity with which these extreme weather events occur.