Govt grap­ples with Irma af­ter­math

Hur­ri­cane-hit ar­eas face long road to re­cov­ery

Global Times US Edition - - USSOCIETY -

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.

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