One week after Hurricane Michael, Mexico Beach residents to return home

Mexico Beach Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on Oct 12 2018

Joanne Garone Behnke called it "torture" awaiting news about whether her 79-year-old aunt who stayed in Mexico Beach had survived. Maybe she was rescued and is lying in a hospital bed somewhere. How many are missing seems to be anyone's guess.

"They have no phones".

Joe Bush, who says he has loved living in Mexico Beach for 19 years, has chose to move away.

Scott said FEMA had granted all his requests and that he'd spoken with Trump "almost every day".

Mexico Beach and Panama City, two Florida towns, were almost flattened, and that could raise the death toll further.

The death toll from Michael's destructive march from Florida through Virginia stood at 17, with just one confirmed death in Mexico Beach.

MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz said in a press release: "Just as other states have responded to our requests through EMAC to bolster our disaster response and recovery operations in MA, including the response to the September 2018 natural gas pipeline incident in the greater Lawrence area, we are able to support Florida as it deals with the impacts of Hurricane Michael". Repairs were being made to the home, owned by Michael Rollins, who told Trump he rode out the storm.

Trump approved emergency disaster declarations for several states across the south-east in the wake of the hurricane, ordering federal aid to assist with local recovery efforts. He said he watched them "cry out in joy". But the severity of the damage worsened significantly as Trump approached Mexico Beach, a town of about 1,000 people that was almost wiped off the map in a direct hit from the hurricane and its 155 miles per hour (250 kph) winds last week.

An estimated 30 to 40 people remained unaccounted for in Mexico Beach, according to a city councillor, Rex Putnal. That number had previously been 285, but officials think many left right before the storm hit. More than 1,700 search and rescue personnel have been deployed, according to state officials.

Numerous rescue efforts are now focused on Mexico Beach, where canine teams are combing through mangled structures and piles of rubble looking for survivors.

"There's a lot of work to be done still as far as the rescue and recovery goes", said Ruiz, whose organization still has 433 requests for help from family members looking for loved ones. "Every piece of property, if it isn't, you know, got have something wrong with it, it's leveled".

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"We've been trying to rough it at home for the last few days".

'It was kind of a message, yes, ' she said. "It's horrifying not knowing".

"It was a happy ending", Melissa Reinhardt said.

Trump was accompanied by Florida Governor Rick Scott, a fellow Republican who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate against an incumbent Democrat in the November 6 congressional elections in which their party is fighting to retain control of Congress.

"I've got a concrete slab left, but it's OK, I'm alive", said Mr Putnal, who said he had been helping survivors and that his home was destroyed.

Some in the affected area were lukewarm about the president's visit.

Later Monday afternoon, Trump and Melania visited a Red Cross center and spoke with state and local officials in Warner Robins, Georgia. The hurricane tore off much of her roof in Panama City, and most of her ceiling collapsed. "I didn't see nobody in panic mode". Vann asked her husband, Joseph, with a dismissive tone.

"If we don't get no help. we'll be living under a bridge somewhere. I just don't know how yet", June told CNN.

"This is our home and we grew up here, they're going to want to get back in here and rebuild".

'But I understand the gossip sells newspapers, magazines. and, unfortunately, we live in this kind of world today'.

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