Tropical storm Irma strengthening to Cat 5 is due for landfall at the Floridan coast Sunday. More than 5 million people in the path of the most destructive storm in decades were ordered to get out without delay before the 260-km winds, storm surges and heavy rains hit the coast. Irma has already killed at lest 23 people and devastated several Caribbean islands, destroying 90pc of the island of Barbuda.
The US Navy has sent the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the USS Iwo Jima assault ship, the USS New York amphibious transport dock ship and the USS Farragut destroyer, into position to provide humanitarian relief and other support for federal, state and local authorities struggling to help Irma’s victims. The USS Kearsarge with 690 US Marines aboard and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill are moving closer to areas in Irma's path.
The large carrier deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln will provide deck space to launch continuous helicopter operations to and from shore as needed for the recovery operations after the storm.