More than 1,300 still missing in Florida after Hurricane Michael

By

Sommer Brokaw

From left to right, Spc. Sean Westmoreland, Spc. Herbert Joyner, and Pfc. Jeremy Grant, from the 153rd Charlie Troop in Tallahassee, hang the American flag on a 4×4 of debris after Hurricane Michael hit in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Saturday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 16 (UPI) — Rescuers said Tuesday more than 1,300 people in the Florida Panhandle have not officially been accounted for, now several days after Hurricane Michael hit.

Michael hit a week ago as a Category 4 storm — uprooting trees, tearing through homes and flooding neighborhoods. At least 19 people have died as a result of the storm, officials said.

CrowdSource Rescue, a group that formed last year when Hurricane Harveyhit Texas, connects volunteer rescuers with people using mapping and dispatching technology.

The group said it has open cases for 800 missing adults, 141 children and 396 elderly — for a total of 1,337 people. Crews have already rescued nearly 1,500.

RELATED Michael death toll rises to 18; searches for missing people continue

Lack of electricity is another problem in north Florida. Utility officials said nearly 117,000 customers still have no power. In Georgia, that figure is 28,000 and Virginia, 11,000.

In Tallahassee, Fla., alone, 5,000 are still in the dark, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The powerful storm may also have an impact on the political landscape. County election officials asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to help workers cope with damage to polling places that will be used in next month’s midterm elections.

RELATED 17 dead, 763,000 without power in Michael’s aftermath

“I firmly believe the governor needs to issue an order that allows for a wide range of things,” Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux wrote in an email to the state’s Division of Elections on Sunday. “[Counties] will need the ability to open fewer sites for all voters who remain, due to a lack of polling places and staff.”

Lux said mail ballots may need to go to different counties because of disruption in mail service.

President Donald Trump visited some of the hardest hit areas in Florida and Georgia on Monday. He made a disaster declaration for six Georgia counties, which followed the same in nine Florida counties.

RELATED Crawfish infest South Carolina yard in wake of hurricane

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it’s provided 715,000 meals and 1.5 million liters of water per day in Florida — and transferred more than 350,000 meals to Georgia.

“More than 16,000 federal employees, including over 8,000 military personnel have been deployed to support Hurricane Michael response efforts,” FEMA said. “Since Michael’s landfall, search and rescue teams from FEMA, the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and others, working alongside state responders and volunteers, have completed 110 evacuations, 4,193 rescues/assists, 15,287 shelter in place checks, and 128 animal assists.”

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2018-10-17T00:11:41+00:00October 17th, 2018|