Trump tours sites af­fected by Irma

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON » Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is go­ing to hear first­hand from peo­ple af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Irma as he makes his third visit in less than three weeks to sur­vey storm dam­age and re­cov­ery ef­forts.

For Trump and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, the visit Thurs­day to Naples and Fort My­ers on Florida’s south­west­ern coast of­fered the chance to see how peo­ple were cop­ing and how the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency has re­sponded.

“His­tor­i­cally there’s never been any­thing like this,” Trump told re­porters be­fore leav­ing the White House. “But the United

States Coast Guard, FEMA, work­ing along with Gov. (Rick) Scott, they’ve re­ally done an amaz­ing job,” adding that “power is be­ing turned on rapidly,” he said.

Af­ter Har­vey struck Texas, Trump drew crit­i­cism for hav­ing min­i­mal in­ter­ac­tion with res­i­dents dur­ing his first trip in late Au­gust. He saw lit­tle dam­age and of­fered few ex­pres­sions of con­cern.

On his sec­ond visit, to Texas and Louisiana, he was more hands-on. He toured a Hous­ton shel­ter hous­ing hun­dreds of dis­placed peo­ple and walk­ing streets lined with soggy, dis­carded pos­ses­sions.

The pres­i­dent mon­i­tored Irma over this past week­end from Camp David, the pres­i­den­tial re­treat in Mary­land.

Nearly half of Florida was en­gulfed by Irma, which left flooded streets, dam­aged homes and dis­placed res­i­dents

in its wake.

Florida’s south­west­ern coast is a haven for re­tirees seek­ing warm weather and beau­ti­ful sun­sets across the Gulf of Mex­ico. Many com­mu­ni­ties are still clean­ing up or with­out power or air con­di­tion­ing.

In Lee County, which in­cludes Cape Co­ral and Fort My­ers, the Florida Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency said 66 per­cent of the area’s 290,000 elec­tri­cal cus­tomers were still with­out power Wed­nes­day. Wide­spread out­ages led to long lines out­side of the rel­a­tively few stores, gas sta­tions and restau­rants that had re­opened.

The sit­u­a­tion was even worse to the south in Col­lier County, home to Naples. Days af­ter Irma passed, al­most 80 per­cent of homes and busi­nesses were still with­out elec­tric­ity, and flood­wa­ters still cov­ered some com­mu­ni­ties en­tirely.

As of Thurs­day morn­ing, the num­ber of homes and busi­nesses with­out elec­tric­ity in Florida was 2.69 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the agency. That’s 25.6 per­cent of all cus­tomers in the state.

TAIMY AL­VAREZ/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SEN­TINEL VIA AP

Dixie Crys­tal Mathews, 47, cries as she watches work­ers from Rob­bie’s Restau­rant and Ma­rina raise the Amer­i­can flag Thurs­day at the end of the dam­aged docks at the pop­u­lar restau­rant and ma­rina in Is­lam­orada, Fla.

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