Trump issues South Carolina emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Irma

Trump issues South Carolina emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Irma
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President Trump approved South Carolina's request for an emergency declaration in the state Thursday as Hurricane Irma barrels toward the East Coast.

The approval came two days after Trump declared a pre-landfall emergency for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as officials prepare for the storm.

The emergency declarations allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the areas expected to be affected.

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"Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency," according to an announcement from the White House.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said a mandatory evacuation order will go into effect on Saturday morning, but has encouraged people to evacuate early. 

The approval comes after the Category 5 hurricane tore through a series of Caribbean islands on Wednesday, leaving at least 10 people dead.

The storm wreaked havoc on Barbuda, leaving 90 percent of the island's buildings damaged, according to CNN.

Florida is bracing for a direct hit on Sunday, as most models show the storm headed for the state. Southern parts of the state have already issued evacuation orders.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is urging people in areas of the storm's path to evacuate as soon as possible.

"So take this seriously. Leave now, don’t wait,” he said Thursday.

“It’s wider than our entire state and could cause major and life-threatening impacts on both coasts.”

Scott later told CNN that the state's evacuations will "absolutely" expand. 

The president has also kept the public updated on the government's plan for dealing with the storm.