Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

MICHAEL: Trump To Tour Panhandle Ravaged By Storm

MICHAEL: Trump To Tour Panhandle Ravaged By Storm

President Donald Trump on Monday (Oct 15) toured areas of Florida devastated by Hurricane Michael last week, and met some of the thousands of people still struggling to survive without running water or electricity.

Trump said there have been hurricanes that were "far worse" than Michael and said scientists calling for action on climate change have a "very big political agenda".

Amid the devastation caused by hurricane Michael, rescue operations in the southeastern U.S. have focused on Mexico Beach and Panama City, two Florida towns that were almost flattened and that could raise the death toll from the storm, which has taken at least 17 lives.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stated that more than 58 evacuations and 403 rescues had been completed since Hurricane Michael made landfall.

"The job they've done in Florida has been incredible", Trump told reporters.

Trump was accompanied by Florida Governor Rick Scott, a fellow Republican who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate against an incumbent Democrat in the November 6 congressional elections in which their party is fighting to retain control of Congress.

President Trump is set to visit Florida and areas affected by Hurricane Michael on Monday.

"We have been hit by the weather, there is no question about it", he said. Those figures do not include losses paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program or uninsured property, AIR Worldwide said.

There was just one confirmed death so far in Mexico Beach, the town of about 1,000 people that was almost wiped off the map in a direct hit from the hurricane and its 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds.

So far, one body has been found in Mexico Beach, but authorities say there is little doubt the death toll will rise.

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Trump also saw Tyndall Air Force Base, which was heavily damaged by Michael.

At least one person has been confirmed killed in Mexico Beach, which took a direct hit from the massive storm, Reuters reported.

Right after the storm, state officials said thousands of calls inquiring about missing people came in to authorities and non-profit groups.

"We're just trying to help some other people who may not be able to get out of their driveways for a couple of days", Braxton said. Homeowners were advised to keep toilet flushes to a minimum because the sewer system was operating only at half capacity.

More than 190,000 homes and businesses in Florida were without electricity as of Sunday, days after the hurricane hit.

"We've called for maximum relief", he said.

In Florida, the seaside town of Mexico Beach was virtually wiped away, and rescue teams have been using dogs as they combed through rubble piles and mangled structures one more time looking for survivors. More than 1,700 search and rescue personnel have been deployed, according to state officials.

The White House has not released detail of his visit ahead of his arrival in Middle Georgia. Trump declared a state of emergency for Georgia late Sunday.

Over the weekend, he made a disaster declaration for Georgia's Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Miller, and Seminole counties.

Just last month, Trump visited North and SC following a direct hit by Hurricane Florence.

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