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Jamaica counts cost of hurricane *LINK*

Jamaica is beginning to count the cost of one of the most powerful hurricanes in its history, which has wreaked havoc across large swathes of the island.

Waves around two-storeys high were reported on its eastern shores as the storm left two people dead.

Most power is out and it is still too early to assess the real extent of the damage, although the capital, Kingston, appears to have escaped the worst.

The hurricane is set to head towards the tiny Cayman Islands and Cuba.

Jamaica was saved from the full force of the storm when it took an unexpected turn to the west.

At 1800 GMT the eye of the hurricane - dubbed Ivan the Terrible by Jamaicans - was about 40 miles (70km) south-west of the western tip of Jamaica, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

Packing winds of about 145mph (230km/h) it was moving at a speed of 8mph (13km/h) towards the Cayman Islands. Forecasters warn the category four storm - on a scale of five - could become stronger.

The storm had gathered power during the night and it uprooted trees in Jamaica, shook the concrete structures of large buildings, and blew off roofs as it swept across the island.

A 10-year-old girl drowned in Old Harbour in St Catherine and an old woman was killed in Kingston when a tree struck her home.

As dawn broke, Jamaicans were able to see the extent of the devastation.

"The rains have been torrential. The sound of the wind is frightening and it is quite devastating," Ouida Ridguard told the BBC.

"This is definitely the worst thing I have experienced in my lifetime - and I have been through two major hurricanes," she added.

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