Florida Panhandle Residents Still Suffering After Hurricane Michael

Monday, October 15th 2018, 3:19 am
By: News On 6

Crews with heavy equipment scooped up splintered boards, broken glass, chunks of asphalt and other debris in hurricane-flattened Mexico Beach on Sunday. The death toll from Hurricane Michael's destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 19, with just one confirmed death so far in this Florida Panhandle town of about 1,000 people that took a direct hit from the hurricane and its 155 mph winds last week.

Several homes in Cape San Blas were pushed off their foundations by the strong storm surge.

A resident named Mark didn't want to give his last name, but he told police he tried to get his next-door neighbor, an older man, to evacuate, but he refused. "Another friend of mine found him and police recovered the body," Mark told CBS News.

Joseph Zahralban is overseeing the search and recovery missions in Mexico Beach. He said 230 people rode out the storm in this coastal town. After an initial search of homes and debris piles, 79 people are still unaccounted for.

President Trump plans to visit Florida and Georgia to see the damage Monday.

Four days after the storm struck, a large swath of the Panhandle was suffering, from little beach towns to the larger Panama City to rural communities miles from where the hurricane came ashore. More than 190,000 homes and businesses in Florida were without electricity, along with about 120,000 in Georgia.

Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long is calling the damage left by Hurricane Michael some of the worst he's ever seen, according to The Associated Press. He toured several towns in Florida's Panhandle on Sunday with Gov. Rick Scott. Long said afterward the storm damage will require officials to help meet housing needs of displaced residents for the next several months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.