Searchers find body in hurricane-stricken town

Leroy Wright
October 14, 2018

More than 253,000 customers in the Panhandle remain without power as thousands of law enforcement and military members were dispatched to aid search-and-rescue missions.

Fema crews have been using bulldozers and other heavy equipment to push a path through debris so rescuers can sift through the rubble using specially trained search dogs.

Five days after the monstrous hurricane, officials said the search and rescue missions had turned into one of recovery.

"Having lived through Hurricane Andrew in south Florida [in 1992], it's going to take a while", she told VOA. "You don't want to put a rush on a thorough rescue".

Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, the leader of a search-and-rescue unit combing through the wreckage of Mexico Beach, said searchers were trying to determine if the person found dead in the community had been alone or was part of a family.

On Friday, the governor authorised the Florida National Guard to mobilise more than 3,500 soldiers to help with rescue efforts. Almost 2,000 law-enforcement officials have been sent into the Panhandle.

As of Friday morning, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

"It was just so insane and it's just so bad", he said.

Untold numbers of people across the region have damaged homes and no power and don't have the means to relocate, either to a new or temporary place. "They might have lost their house".

"To have just that American fighting way to sit there and go, "You know what?"

Israeli humanitarian NGO IsraAID is preparing to deploy an emergency response team to northwest Florida, which has suffered brutal devastation from Hurricane Michael since it made landfall on Wednesday. "The house is not livable, so I don't know". "If I can get out here I would".

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"Basically what's happened is that people who are closer to where the water was and the water surge, some of these homes are completely gone and all that is left is the foundation", said Stephanie Palmer, team manager of Florida Task Force 2". Several trees came down on their property, including one that smashed through the roof.

"We brought all four of them and their cat to my condo", she said.

In the Millville community of Panama City, many historic homes more than 100 years were destroyed.

Michael crashed ashore near Mexico Beach on Wednesday afternoon as one of the most powerful storms in USA history, with winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 kph).

Hector Morales, a 57-year-old cook, never thought of evacuating.

The IRS said in a news release it is taking this step "due to the unusual factors involving Hurricane Michael and the interaction with the October 15 extension deadline".

"They're not just my officers, the people that I work with, they're my family". "But I made it".

Bill Shockey, 86, refused to leave Mexico Beach despite his daughter's pleas. Jill Braxton stopped with a pickup truck loaded with hay, saying many people in rural areas nearby had trapped animals and were in need of supplies for their livestock.

The death toll from Hurricane Michael is expected to increase, especially as rescue operations continue in Mexico Beach, one the hardest-hit towns.

By Friday, authorities had begun setting up distribution centers to dole out food and water.

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