Govt grapples with Irma aftermath
Hurricane-hit areas face long road to recovery
Hurricane Irma survivors in the US began to assess the damage on Tuesday after the storm left many without electricity, destroyed or damaged houses and shortages of water and food.
The US death toll from Hurricane Irma has climbed to 22 following its path of destruction across the Caribbean and through the Southeast US over the weekend, said ABC News.
By late Tuesday, Florida Power & Light Co. had restored power to 2.3 million customers, 40 percent of those affected across the state; about 4.4 million customers in Florida are still without power as of Tuesday afternoon. The company said its customers on the state’s east coast should expect most power to be restored by about September 17, while customers on the state’s west coast should expect most power to be restored by September 22, ABC News reported.
Governor Rick Scott of Florida said on Tuesday that the state had shifted its attention to recovery and rebuilding efforts, while working to get water and food to those who needed it and to restore access to fuel. He said there were 30,000 people working to get the lights back on in the state, and that inspectors were checking the safety of bridges and sizing up repairs needed for sewage systems, the New York Times reported.
Fuel shortages in the state eased as 37.6 percent of gas stations were without fuel statewide, down from 46 percent Monday evening, according to fuel information service GasBuddy, Reuters reported.
In the Middle and Lower Keys of Florida, rescue and recovery workers are working to clear roads and inspect bridges so that residents and business owners can return. But in the Upper Keys, “water, power, sewer, fuel, medical service and cell service, are still limited,” according to Monroe County. The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority was advising residents to boil their tap water, if they have any, CNN reported.
Clean up efforts were underway on Miami Beach’s iconic Ocean Drive, which was covered in sand from the storm surge and wind. The area was littered with downed trees and street signs, but appeared to escape without major structural damage. Some business owners on Tuesday removed boards from their windows, preparing to reopen, said ABC News.
US President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico, where Irma killed at least 3 people and left hundreds of thousands without electricity and drinking water. Trump also expanded federal funds available to the US Virgin Islands, which suffered extensive damage to homes and infrastructure, said The Independent.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in the Caribbean on Tuesday pledging to rebuild the French territories ravaged by Hurricane Irma, amid mounting criticism that European nations and the US had neglected their responsibilities in the region, CNN reported.