Three days after the devastating passage of hurricane Michael in Florida, the search operations of stranded victims continued Saturday, and the human toll was even increased to 17 dead, but the priority of the responders is shifted to the assistance to those who have lost everything. Rescuers on Friday announced to have uncovered the first corpse in the vast field of debris that became the small seaside town of Mexico Beach. Dozens of homes, shops, restaurants on the seafront have been blown by winds of up to hundreds of metres inland, or as shelled on their foundations.
The discovery of the body of this old man brought to eight the number of deaths in Florida due to the hurricane, the most violent that has hit the north-west of the State since records began in 1851. Michael has also affected other States up along the coast. He had five dead in Virginia, three in North Carolina (State already hit hard by hurricane Florence in the last month) and one in Georgia, a young girl killed when a roof of garage and landed on his house, according to authorities.
Michael had been violently struck on Wednesday, the Florida coast, carrying then winds up to 250 km/h. The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has paid tribute Saturday to the “tireless work” of the rescue workers and all public sector employees working to restore bridges, access roads and other vital infrastructure. Some 261 000 households in the wake of the hurricane were still without electricity Saturday.
Panama City, city also, very proven, to the local radio station gave regular information about the open stores and the distribution centers of commodities, according to journalists of Agence France-Presse on the spot. Some stores such as Walmart have opened their doors. The salvation Army has set up points of distribution throughout the city. Saturday morning, the queue of cars grew long in the few service stations open.
The baptist church in St Andrew was setting up a centre of distribution of survival rations, water, towels, dog food,… from all over the State by the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Organization. “We will be able tonight to feed 500 people,” said Mark Bateman, one of the pastors of the parish, which has about 800 faithful. The roof of the church was beautiful to be damaged, the building could host the volunteers to deliver aid.
F-22 damaged ?
The Agency of emergency management (Fema) had warned that she feared to find of the deceased victims. “I expect that the balance increases, today and tomorrow, as we drive through the debris,” said Friday on CNN the boss of Fema, Brock Long. President Donald Trump has announced that he would be in Florida and in the neighboring State of Georgia, also severely affected, in the beginning of the week.
The evacuation instructions probably saved many lives, and many of the inhabitants who had sought refuge in the lands were returned to their home to participate in the large-scale clearing. Other u.s. States have proposed their help, like Arkansas who has rushed in two Florida helicopters, Black Hawks and the military. The air force base Tyndall near Panama City, was the subject of many speculations, because some of its hangars severely damaged could harbor stealth fighter jets F-22 Raptors, known for their unit cost astronomical. The US Air Force has not given details on the fate of the hunters.
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