Latin America & Caribbean

Hurricane Igor sweeps north past Bermuda

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Media captionThe storm has sent huge waves crashing over coastal defences in Bermuda

Hurricane Igor is moving north-east of Bermuda after pounding the island with huge winds and fierce waves.

The storm caused flooding and power cuts to thousands of homes, but spared Bermuda the widespread destruction of a direct hit.

It is now 110 miles north of Bermuda, travelling at 20mph (32km/h), and due to pass the Canadian coast on Tuesday.

The Canadian hurricane centre has issued a tropical storm watch for the Newfoundland coast.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) says the category one hurricane will pass the southeastern tip of Newfoundland, with maximum winds of 75 mph (120 km/h).

Bermuda has downgraded its hurricane threat to a tropical storm threat, as fears of substantial damage fade.

Officials earlier on Monday warned that Igor could have been the worst storm the British overseas territory had ever seen.

Power cuts

A Royal Navy warship and helicopter had been standing offshore ready to help with relief efforts.

But considerable damage was still reported, as residents battened down their homes and property, and winds brought down trees and power lines.

Flooding was reported in low-lying areas late on Sunday, while streets in the capital Hamilton were under several inches of water and littered with storm debris.

There have been no reports of anyone being injured.

Bermuda's energy company, Belco, said about 16,000 of its 35,000 customers were without power.

"Everybody just hunker down and wait until this thing is over," a spokesman for the island's emergency measures organisation advised.

Earlier, officials warned that Igor could rival Hurricane Fabian, which claimed four lives and caused millions of dollars of damage in 2003.

"Our country and our people have, throughout our history, rarely faced the full fury of a storm of this magnitude," Premier Ewart Brown said.

"As a people we will continue to pray that once again we will be spared."

As well as having the Royal Navy ship standing by, authorities also mobilised the island's forces - the Bermuda Regiment.

Bermuda - with a population of some 67,000 - is a chain of 138 islands, many of them small and uninhabited, spanning only 22 sq miles (57 sq km).

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