News Wrap: Receding waters reveal ruinous hurricane damage

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Chester Dunn comforts his wife Maryann as they stand near their home and by the edge of the flooded area along Hoke Lane after the effects of Hurricane Matthew in Kinston, North Carolina, U.S. October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill - RTSRT74

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HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news:  Russian jets resumed heavy bombing of Aleppo, Syria, after days of relative calm.  At least 16 people were killed there today in airstrikes on rebel-held neighborhoods.  Recent drone footage showed the scale of the devastation in eastern parts of the city.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande criticized Moscow’s actions in Syria, just as Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled a trip to Paris.

PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, France (through translator):  I think it is necessary to have dialogue with Russia.  But it must be firm and frank.  Otherwise, it has no role to play.  Otherwise, it’s just a charade.  So I’m ready to meet President Putin if we can make progress on peace, stop the bombings and implement a cease-fire.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  In Southern Syria, rebels fired rockets at government-held areas.  One hit a primary school, killing at least six people, mostly children.

It’s been another long day for thousands of people coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.  The U.S. death toll rose to at least 30 today.  Half of those deaths were in North Carolina.  Meanwhile, President Obama signed a disaster declaration for South Carolina.

And in hard-hit Haiti, there were rising fears of disease.

William Brangham has our report on the day’s developments.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Main streets turned into waterways, as rescuers boarded boats and helicopters again today to search for people stranded in the deluge.  Some 1,500 people became trapped in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, when a river there began overflowing on Sunday.

This morning, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory urged those who could to leave, and fast.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R-N.C.):  Get out.  Get out now.  You are putting not only your life at jeopardy.  You are putting our emergency rescue teams in jeopardy.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  One new death in the state wasn’t by water.  Last night, state troopers shot and killed an armed man during a search-and-rescue mission.  Governor McCrory would only say the shooting happened under — quote — “very difficult circumstances.”

Floodwaters continue to inundate towns like Lumberton after Hurricane Matthew poured more than a foot of water on Eastern North Carolina from the capital, Raleigh, south to Fayetteville and beyond.  Interstate 95 was still inundated and blocked off near the South Carolina border, severing the major north-south route along the East Coast for another day.

Hundreds of other roads were flooded or damaged, leaving whole neighborhoods cut off.  In Moore County, residents were evacuated late last night as crews worked until morning to shore up a dam that threatened to burst.

Where the waters have receded, the damage is ruinous.

Bob Swilley piled up 400 sandbags to protect his Fayetteville print shop from the waters, all in vain.

BOB SWILLEY, Fayetteville Business Owner:  Saturday night, this flooded over.  It just — of course, you can see the damage here.  And it came over the road, came over the road, into the bottom of our building.  That’s where all of our equipment is.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  The scale of the destruction is still unclear as the flooding continues, but thousands of homes have been damaged already.  And half-a-million are still without power throughout the Southeast.

Still, nowhere was more devastated by Hurricane Matthew than the Caribbean nation of Haiti, where cleanup efforts pressed on today amid catastrophic damage, but another potential deadlier crisis is emerging in the impoverished country.  New cases of cholera have spiked dramatically due to a lack of safe water.  An outbreak after the 2010 earthquake killed more than 10,000 people and sickened 800,000.

The World Health Organization said today it was sending one million doses of cholera vaccine to hinder any new epidemic.

Sean Casey is the International Medical Corps in Haiti.  The “NewsHour” reached him by phone in the port town of Les Cayes.

SEAN CASEY:  In addition to the myriad health challenges we have after a disaster, we now have a cholera outbreak on top of it, which requires additional health resources, but which is also pulling health resources away from primary care services that are also needed.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  In the south, where Hurricane Matthew struck, about a quarter of the health facilities have been destroyed or severely damaged.

For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  In China, more than 1,000 protesters demonstrated today outside the Defense Ministry in Beijing.  Many wore army uniforms and stood for hours outside the ministry to denounce military downsizing and problems with veterans’ pensions.  Hundreds of police used buses and other vehicles to obstruct views of the protest.

The World Health Organization called today for higher taxes on sugary drinks.  Officials at the U.N. health agency said it could cut consumption of the drinks and help fight obesity and diabetes.  As of 2014, 11 percent of men and 15 percent of women were classified as obese, more than 500 million people around the world.

Thousands of nurses in Minnesota have reached a tentative deal to end a strike that began Labor Day.  The governor announced the agreement after a 17-hour mediation between the Minnesota Nurses Association and five hospitals.  The nurses walked out over issues including health insurance.  They’re set to vote on the agreement Thursday.

And stocks fell sharply on Wall Street today, led by heavy losses in the health care sector and a drop in oil prices.  The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 200 points to close at 18128.  The Nasdaq fell nearly 82 points, and the S&P 500 lost 27.

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