Update “: Hurricane Matthew death toll rises

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139

President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Florida and South Carolina as deadly Hurricane Matthew bears down.

More than 1.5 million people living in low-lying areas and on the barrier islands have been told to “evacuate, evacuate, evacuate” by Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has warned: “This storm will kill you.”

The death toll in Haiti as a result of Hurricane Matthew has soared to 339, the government says.

The hurricane has again been upgraded to a Category Four storm, the second highest hurricane classification, as it heads for the US state of Florida.

Nearly two million people along the US East Coast have been urged to leave their homes as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

The storm – the biggest the US has seen in more than a decade – is now powering towards Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

The Haiti government has estimated at least 350,000 people need some kind of assistance after the disaster.

The U.S. government said it sent experts to Haiti to assess the damage and is providing $1.5 million in food and other disaster assistance.