FEMA focusing on search and rescue after Michael passes through

By  | 

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Leaders in our nation’s capital said they’re just beginning to understand Hurricane Michael’s devastation.

Left behind in Hurricane Michael’s wake: tens of thousands without homes, hospitals too broken down to provide care, hundreds of thousands cut-off from power and with no way to contact friends and loved ones.

“We have it very well covered in Florida,” President Donald Trump said.

“Today is a big day for us when it comes to truly helping people and prevent further loss of life,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long.

The head of country’s disaster recovery agency said getting basic services back online could take weeks. “It’s not stuff that you just put back together over night,” Long said, “and it’s unrealistic for people to think it’s going to happen in the next day or two.”

In the meantime, search and rescue is the priority. The clock is ticking for those with chronic health needs, like those who rely on dialysis or breathing machines. “Without power people can experience life-threatening events within hours of loss of power,” said Dr. Kevin Yeskey with U.S. Health and Human Services.

The federal government declared a health emergency: mobilizing workers, cutting health insurance red tape, and building care options where hospital can’t provide them.

More than 8,000 people took shelter from the storm in 100 Red Cross Shelters in Florida and Alabama. Now, the charity is prepping cots and food supplies – knowing many won’t have a place to call home for some time.

The storm is weakening – but still packs enough of a punch to cause more disaster as it roars through North and South Carolina. Neither state is fully recovered from last month’s Hurricane – or well-equipped to absorb more heavy rains.