President Urges Vigilance as Irma Approaches Southern Florida

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Hours ahead of Hurricane Irma's expected landfall in Florida, U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday advised citizens to "just get out of its way", urging those still in evacuation zones to hurry and leave. "And when you compound that with Hurricane Irma, with Irma, you can imagine how that cost is going to go up".

In remarks delivered to the cabinet at the beginning of the meeting, President Trump warned people to "get out of" Hurricane Irma's way.

On Saturday afternoon, Trump held a meeting with the Cabinet on the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, now heading to Florida.

Trump called it a "storm of enormous destructive power" and asked "everyone in the storm path to heed all instructions, get out of its way".

"I think the Congress will act quickly to make sure we have the emergency funding that we need to go forward", he said.

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Hurricane Irma already swept across the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm, killing at least 23 people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, including up to 95 percent of structures on the tiny island of Barbuda.

Trump also said of Irma that 'we've never seen anything like this'.

He also said the lives and livelihood of many Americans - possibly from the very climate change-denying sections that had chosen Trump president - "will be at risk if Trump and his administration continue to deny the existence of climate change and its impact on the threat posed by hurricanes". FEMA and the Dept of Homeland Security addressed the group via video teleconference.

The Republican president, who met with his cabinet at Camp David this weekend, also spoke to the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee as the hurricane path moved away from the lower Florida Keys westward to the Gulf Coast and states to the north.

While there, Pence told reporters Trump has been monitoring the storm around the clock and has directed the full resources of the government to help in the response. He said he was saying prayers for us. "We are doing everything we can to help with disaster preparations and, when the time comes, we will restore, recover, and rebuild - together, as Americans".