Now that nearly a full week has passed since Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle and proceeded to tear through Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina—obliterating entire neighborhoods, businesses, and schools and killing at least 18 people—many of the millions of U.S. residents affected by the storm are beginning to voice outrage at the inadequate response of the Trump administration as hundreds of thousands are still without electricity as well as basic resources like food, water, medicine, and shelter.
“They’re doing us like they did New Orleans. We know that people are coming, but where are they?”
—Tracey Simmons, Florida resident
“They’re doing us like they did New Orleans,” Florida resident Tracey Simmons told the New York Times, referring to the George W. Bush administration’s appallingly slow, insufficient, and racist response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “We know that people are coming, but where are they?”
Simmons was hardly the only Floridian expressing anger at the lack of federal response to the second devastating hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland in just two months.
“We’re not getting any help,” Barbara Sanders, a resident of Panama City—which “looks like a bomb has been dropped on it” following the Category 4 storm—told The Daily Beast. “We need food. It’s just crazy.”
“We’re in need of food, water, anything,” Chantelle Goolspy, who lives in Panama City public housing that was badly damaged by Michael, pleaded in a phone call with the Red Cross. “The whole street needs help. FEMA referred me to you. That person told me to call 211 [Florida United Way, a nonprofit relief organization].”
Hurricane Michael was described by meteorologists as one of the top four most powerful hurricanes to strike the U.S. in recorded history—and the most powerful to hit the Florida Panhandle in 100 years. Nearly five days after the destructive storm made landfall, the Washington Post reported on Sunday that an estimated “200,000 Floridians are still sleeping in the dark and unable to operate their well water pumps.”
“Many are running out of fuel in their vehicles. While this number [of people without electricity] has dropped from its peak of about 400,000, much of the power restoration has happened in places like Tallahassee, where the storm was not as severe and where restaurants and stores began reopening this weekend,” the Post continued. “The hardest-hit counties in the Panhandle remain in a primitive state.”
“When we look away from climate change, we look away from people in harm’s way, and now we are living with consequences that are tragic.”
—Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice
Overall, nearly a million people across four states are still without power following the historic storm.
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