Only On 8: Helping Hurricane Irma's victims in the Florida Keys

Wednesday, 20 Sep, 2017

Hurricane Irma recently caused death and destruction in the Caribbean the US and was billed as one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in history.

We didn't have a plan for them.

Officials in the devastated Florida Keys say they agonized over reopening parts of the island chain after Hurricane Irma, knowing residents were desperate to assess the damage, but anxious about harsh living conditions for those who returned.

"I got to it before it was picked up by the county with all the other storm debris and placed in a landfill".

Some parents say the worst part of the hurricane's aftermath has been the lack of options for children as many stores, pools and water parks have been closed due to cleanup efforts and no power.

After days of anxiously awaiting their return home, Monroe County evacuees are beginning to make their way back after Hurricane Irma Saturday morning.

Those neighborhoods, which include Big Pine Key and Sugarloaf, are between mile markers 11 and 60. Power has already been restored to more than 1.2 million customers.

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Power outages hit other Southeastern states as the storm moved north, including Georgia.

To try to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring again, Scott on Saturday directed the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Elder Affairs to implement emergency rules aimed at keeping elder Floridians living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALF's) safe during disasters. "I'll certainly keep everyone updated on this progress, promise", he said in his Facebook post.

Then just past noon Monday, an inmate who had been evacuated from a Monroe County prison or jail was being transported back to the Florida Keys through Palm Beach County when he said he needed to use the bathroom, according to Florida Highway Patrol trooper Lt. Yosvany Veloz.

Officials in the Florida Keys are stepping up plans to let residents and business owners re-enter the area to check on their property.

Of the 685 nursing homes in Florida, 645 have power. That is what Florida families and businesses expect.

The six nursing home residents who died in south Florida were not victims of storm damage; they died from the heat and a lack of air conditioning.

"There are 42 confirmed deaths attributable to Hurricane Irma", said Alberto Moscoso, spokesman from the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM). The woman's grandson managed to catch the teen, though his friend took off, police said.