FEMA shifting focus to the recovery process
Miami (AP) - Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long says the government response to Hurricane Irma has shifted from saving lives to one of beginning the long recovery process.
Long said at a briefing Friday that good progress is being made in getting people back into their homes or into temporary housing such as apartments or hotels. About 10,000 people in Florida remain in emergency shelters.
Federal officials are focused on restoring electrical power and getting gasoline into areas suffering fuel shortages. Long said the lack of electricity has affected fuel supplies because many gas stations haven't been retrofitted to run their pumps on generator power.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who appeared with Long, urged people still without electricity in Florida and other affected states to be patient. He said the severe damage from Irma's winds will require that parts of the power grid to effectively be rebuilt.
Perry said 60,000 utility workers from U.S. and Canada are in the disaster area working to get power back on.
More than 80 percent of Floridians have gotten their power restored after Hurricane Irma roared through the state.
State emergency managers reported Friday that 1.92 million homes and businesses still don't have electricity.
Tens of thousands of customers in southwest Florida and south Florida remain without electricity. Nearly 25 percent of all customers in Miami-Dade County still don't have power.
Florida Power & Light officials earlier this week said that most customers on Florida’s east coast would have their electricity restored by Sunday evening. They said it would take until Sept. 22 to get electricity back to the majority of customers in southwest Florida.
Tens of thousands of customers in Pinellas County on the state's west coast still don't have electricity as well.