Residents of Florida deal with devastation from Irma

World Today

Several Key West residents try to save a houseboat that was damaged from Hurricane Irma after it passed through the area, September 13, 2017 in Key West, Florida. The Florida Keys still lacks water, electricity or mobile phone service. Residents are still not permitted to go further south than Mile Marker 73. The Federal Emergency Managment Agency has reported that 25 percent of all homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed and 65 percent sustained major damage when they took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. / AFP PHOTO / Gaston De Cardenas

As parts of the southeastern United States continue to reel from Hurricane Irma, President Donald Trump is set to meet with those affected.

“Historically there’s never been anything like this,” Trump told reporters before leaving the White House. “But the United States Coast Guard, FEMA, working along with Gov. (Rick) Scott, they’ve really done an amazing job,” adding that “power is being turned on rapidly,” he said.

The damage appears to be worse in the Florida Keys, as CGTN’s Nitza Perez reports. 

As of Thursday morning, the number of homes and businesses without electricity in Florida was 2.69 million, according to the Florida Emergency Management Agency. That’s 25.6 percent of all customers in the state.

Nearly half of Florida was engulfed by Irma, which left flooded streets, damaged homes and displaced residents in its wake.

Residents of Key West stand in line as they wait for emergency donations following Hurricane Irma on September 13, 2017 in Key West, Florida. AFP PHOTO / Gaston De Cardenas

In Lee County, which includes Cape Coral and Fort Myers, the Florida Emergency Management Agency said 66 percent of the area’s 290,000 electrical customers were still without power Wednesday. Widespread outages led to long lines outside of the relatively few stores, gas stations and restaurants that had reopened.

The situation was even worse to the south in Collier County, home to Naples. Days after Irma passed, almost 80 percent of homes and businesses were still without electricity, and floodwaters still covered some communities entirely.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were scheduled to visit Naples and Fort Myers Thursday.

Story by CGTN and the Associated Press