Hurricane Irma: Florida Keys facing potential ‘humanitarian crisis’

The scale of Irma's trail of destruction can be seen in the light of day, as over 10 deaths so far have been reported and over seven million have been left without power 

Hurricane Irma winds ravaging Florida Keys. Photo: Metro
Hurricane Irma winds ravaging Florida Keys. Photo: Metro

The scale of Irma’s trail of destruction across Florida is becoming evident as the remnants of the most powerful storm in the history of the Atlantic turned towards Alabama and was downgraded to a tropical depression.

Monday exposed the damage in the hardest-hit areas of Florida Keys and the south-west coast, which was struck by 130kmph winds and deadly seawater surge during both landfalls.

As it stands, 10 deaths were reported across the US, six in Florida, three in Georgia and one in South Caroline, as a direct result of the storm. In Haiti, the country’s civil protection agency reported a death, bringing the Caribbean death toll to 37.

Rick Scott, Florida governor reported a scene of destruction in Florida Keys, following an aerial tour.

“The water is not working, the sewer is not working and there’s no electricity, so it’s very tough”, he told reporters.

Scott claimed it could be weeks or even months before parts of the Keys are habitable once again.

“We’ve got to get our first responders to the Keys, we’ve got to get the water going again, we’ve got to get the power going again. It’s going to take a lot of time. Especially for the keys, it’s going to be a long road”, he commented.

Officials in Monroe County warned of a potential ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the Keys, with military crews on standby with body bags in case of fatalities among those to failed to follow the evacuation order.

Sam Kaufman, Key West city commissioner, issued a report that good, water and fuel were at “critically low” levels, and as it stands, 200 power poles were down.

Irma’s reach stretched across most of Florida. With over 7 million people being left without power, 2 million of which were in communities around Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Reports of property damage and beach erosion were widespread.

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