What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Hundreds still unaccounted for after Hurricane Michael ravages Florida

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Florida Panhandle, killed at least 18 people and trapped others, with hundreds still unaccounted for. As first responders search for survivors, residents are also feeling the economic effects of the storm in communities that depend on fishing and tourism. Reuters’ Devika Krishna Kumar joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

Read the Full Transcript

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The death toll from Hurricane Michael continues to rise. The fast moving storm killed at least 18 people as it crossed Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. The Category 4 hurricane was the most powerful to ever hit the Florida Panhandle. Rescue teams are still searching for survivors in the town of Mexico Beach, Florida where the hurricane made landfall on Wednesday. And there are reports that hundreds of people who stayed in their homes are still unaccounted for in areas without power or communication. Utility companies are working to restore power to hundreds of thousands of people across seven states. Devika Krishna Kumar is a reporter with Reuters, she joins us now via Skype from Tallahassee, Florida.

    Devika, you've been out there to these sort of, completely destroyed areas, at least the footage that we see. How confident are first responders that they've actually made it to all those places to see if there are more victims or if they've cleared all the rubble?

  • DEVIKA KRISHNA KUMAR:

    It's still early in the process of recovery. We're not 100 percent sure that rescuers and searchers have been able to make it to the damaged and destroyed areas. There's a lot of rubble, some of the roads are still not completely accessible, there's a lot of National Forest State Park surrounding this area. So in many cases, access and making sure you reach the people who may be trapped is quite a challenge.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right. That's the kind of immediate cost, the human lives. As you mentioned, the roads to get there, a lot of these places are destroyed, so what does the infrastructure look like for some of these towns where entire blocks have been scoured off the land completely?

  • DEVIKA KRISHNA KUMAR:

    Yes. Yesterday I was an Alligator Point, which is just off Panacea, near Tallahassee and a vital road that connects to the rest of the community inland, people can't access that road anymore. Officials that I spoke to there said they are using ATP's bicycles to get supplies and relief to residents that are actually trapped in that area.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And finally, longer term, when we think of the economic impact, this is a region that actually had crops that were affected or damaged. What does that do to those farmers and obviously the markets that they serve?

  • DEVIKA KRISHNA KUMAR:

    A lot of the communities here also depend on fishing particularly, shrimpers and oystermen for their livelihood and tourism is a big part of the economy as well. So obviously, this does a lot to damage that several. Yesterday, I visited a holiday campground in Panacea, and it's a family owned business and the owner was telling me that were full. October, is typically a time when they see a lot of demand, a lot of tourists visiting the state. And October is actually a time when most people think that the hurricane season has come and gone. So when the hurricane came, they saw a lot of people pull out and she said it would take months to rebuild.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right. Devika Krishna Kumar of Reuters joining us via Skype from Tallahassee. Thanks so much.

  • DEVIKA KRISHNA KUMAR:

    Thank you very much.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest