Quantcast
Popular
Storm debris litters the town after Hurricane Michael on Oct. 13 in Mexico Beach, Florida. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Hurricane Michael Death Toll Rises to 18, Survivors Desperate for Aid

The death toll from Hurricane Michael climbed to 18 Saturday after a victim was discovered in Virginia, but officials think it could climb higher still as search and rescue efforts continue in the most hard hit areas around the Florida Panhandle, CNN reported.

Panama City Fire Department Battalion Chief David Collier told CNN he thought the final death toll just in his city and surrounding communities could reach the double digits.


"Unfortunately, we're probably still going to find people in the coming weeks," Collier told CNN.

He said that national and state rapid response teams had done an initial sweep of the area, but could not access everywhere that was destroyed.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said about 1,700 search and rescue personnel had checked 25,000 homes, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

In a Saturday evening address, Scott further said that more than 1,800 law enforcement officers, 400 ambulances and 700 staff had been sent to Florida's Panhandle and Big Ben, and that 4,000 soldiers and airmen with the Florida National Guard had been activated to help with rescue operations, road clearing and supply delivery, CNN reported.

But for residents in the hardest hit areas, real help was still too slow to come, The Daily Beast reported from Panama City.

As of Saturday morning, they reported that there was no power or water in the city, and no sign of a large presence from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"We're not getting any help," storm survivor Barbara Sanders told The Daily Beast. "We need food. It's just crazy."

Police had only stopped by to say there was nothing they could do and to advise people to leave.

However, ordinary citizens had stepped up to the plate. Two brothers named Chris and Brendon Hill drove over in a pickup truck filled with water from Louisiana. In Panama City Beach, volunteers set up a kitchen for police, brought water and prepared 1,500 meals to distribute to local residents.

"The American people are helping us," Panama City Beach city manager Mario Gisbert said. "FEMA will eventually come into the game and get the accolades in six months."

Federal, state and local officials, meanwhile, were operating out of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Gulf Coast State College and were working out how to distribute food and water as quickly as possible, but EOC spokesperson Catie Feenie said they were still focused on coordinating rescue efforts.

"We're telling everybody to save [food and water] because it will be days before we're ready to do that," Feenie told The Daily Beast.

There are currently two open food and water distribution centers, with more on the way, CNN reported. Scott further tweeted Saturday evening that 142,000 gallons of water and around 174,000 ready made meals had been delivered to affected areas.

But full recovery will take a long time for a region recuperating from one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the U.S. in recorded history. More intense hurricanes like Michael are one of the projected impacts of climate change.

The town of Mexico Beach was essentially reduced to rubble.

"Seventy-five percent of our city is not here," Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey told CNN. "There's not one local business that's operational." He has been told it could take two months to restore power.

Overall, the storm knocked out power for 757,000 people in seven states.

For some Florida schoolchildren, normalcy could take even longer to be restored. Bay District School Board Vice Chairman Steve Moss, whose district includes Panama City, said that Michael would displace students from 25 of the district's 38 schools, some for years. Scott said seven districts across Florida were closed until further notice.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Pexels

Tackling Climate Change Requires Healing the Divide

Canadian climate change opinion is polarized, and research shows the divide is widening. The greatest predictor of people's outlook is political affiliation. This means people's climate change perceptions are being increasingly driven by divisive political agendas rather than science and concern for our collective welfare.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Westend61 / Getty Images

EcoWatch Gratitude Photo Contest: Submit Now!

EcoWatch is pleased to announce its first photo contest! Show us what in nature you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Whether you have a love for oceans, animals, or parks, we want to see your best photos that capture what you love about this planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Pexels

10 Chefs Bringing Forgotten Grains Back to Life

Millets are a staple crop for tens of millions of people throughout Asia and Africa. Known as Smart Food, millets are gluten-free, and an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron, zinc and dietary fiber. They can also be a better choice for farmers and the planet, requiring 30 percent less water than maize, 70 percent less water than rice, and can be grown with fewer expensive inputs, demanding little or no fertilizers and pesticides.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Háifoss waterfall is situated near the volcano Hekla in the south of Iceland. FEBRUARY / Getty Images

The Essential Guide to Eco-Friendly Travel

By Meredith Rosenberg

Between gas-guzzling flights, high-pollution cruise ships and energy-consuming hotels, travel takes a huge toll on the environment. Whether for business or vacation, for many people it's not realistic to simply stop traveling. So what's the solution? There are actually numerous ways to become more eco-conscious while traveling, which can be implemented with these expert tips.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Freder / E+ / Getty Images

Surprising Study: Orangutans Are Only Non-Human Primates Who Can 'Talk' About the Past

We already know that orangutans are some of the smartest land animals on Earth. Now, researchers have found evidence that these amazing apes can communicate about past events—the first time this trait has been observed in a non-human primate.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances revealed that when wild Sumatran orangutan mothers spotted a predator, they suppressed their alarm calls to others until the threat was no longer there.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Suicide rates are highest for males in construction and extraction; females in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, the CDC found. Michelllaurence / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

CDC: Suicide Rate Among U.S. Workers Increasing

From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among American workers has increased 34 percent, up 12.9 per 100,000 working persons to 17.3, according to a worrisome new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Workers with the highest suicide rates have construction, mining and drilling jobs, the U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
PG&E received a maximum sentence for the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion. Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Report: 90% of Pipeline Blasts Draw No Financial Penalties

A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible.

The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Nevada Test and Training Range. U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum

U.S. Navy Proposes Massive Land Grab to Test Bombs

Friday the U.S. Navy released details of a plan to seize more than 600,000 acres of public land in central Nevada to expand a bombing range. The land under threat includes rich habitat for mule deer, important desert springs and nesting sites for raptors like golden eagles.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!