Gov. Scott says Keys face ‘long road’ to re­cov­ery

The Palm Beach Post - - HURRICANE IRMA - By Ge­orge Ben­nett

OPA-LOCKA — Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the state — and par­tic­u­larly the Keys — faces “a long road” to re­cov­ery from Hur­ri­cane Irma.

Speak­ing to re­porters at a Coast Guard air sta­tion af­ter sur­vey­ing dam­age from the air, Scott said dam­age to South­west Florida was “not as bad as we thought the storm surge would do,” but dam­age to the Keys was “dev­as­tat­ing.”

In the Keys north of Key West, Scott said, “I don’t think I saw one trailer park that al­most ev­ery­thing wasn’t over­turned.”

He also said there is wide­spread loss of elec­tric­ity, wa­ter and sewer ser­vice there.

“It’s very tough . ... My heart goes out to the Keys. There’s dev­as­ta­tion, and I just hope ev­ery­body sur­vived.”

He added: “For our en­tire state and es­pe­cially for the Keys, it’s go­ing to be a long road. There’s a lot of dam­age.”

Scott praised first re­spon­ders and the military for their help and said the White House has been “out­stand­ing” in its re­sponse. He said he spoke to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump three times Sun­day and has spo­ken to Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brock Long and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence as well.

Scott said about 65 per­cent of Florida is with­out power, and “it’s go­ing to take a long time to get power back.”

Scott said he’s been in reg­u­lar con­tact with util­i­ties and with fuel sup­pli­ers.

“It’s go­ing to take a few days to get caught up” on gas sup­plies, the gov­er­nor said.

Scott said he hasn’t es­ti­mated how much storm dam­age will cost. U.S. Rep. Car­los Curbelo, R-Miami, who rep­re­sents the Keys, pre­dicted a hefty price tag.

“We don’t have an ex­act es­ti­mate, but I can guar­an­tee you it is go­ing to cost bil­lions upon bil­lions upon bil­lions of dol­lars to help the Florida Keys, Florida’s South­west Coast and, ob­vi­ously, some of our res­i­dents here in Mi­amiDade and Broward coun­ties to re­cover,” Curbelo said.

“FEMA needs solid, longterm fund­ing so they can re­spond to this cri­sis, to the cri­sis in Texas and to fu­ture crises that we can ex­pect,” Curbelo said.

Gov. Rick Scott says he spoke to pres­i­dent three times Sun­day.

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