Hurricane Michael Death Toll Increases to 29

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
October 17, 2018 Updated: October 17, 2018

The death toll from Hurricane Michael is continuing to rise—a week after the powerful storm made landfall on the Florida Panhandle.

At least 29 people have now died as a result of the storm, a Category 4 cyclone with 155 mph winds. According to USA Today in a report on Oct. 17, seven more fatalities were recorded.

Officials said there were at least three more deaths in Bay County, which includes Mexico Beach and Panama City. Overall, there were 23 deaths in Florida and 10 in other states.

The report said that 15,876 single residences have been damaged and 4,240 single residences have been destroyed. About 124,000 people were still without power as of Oct. 17.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford told the Pensacola News Journal: “That is certainly a tragedy and our hearts go out to the families that lost love[d] ones in that.” Dr. Jay Radtke, the medical examiner for Florida’s 14th Judicial Circuit, said, “As far as deaths, Bay County has been the worst.”

But more than 1,000 people remain missing a week after the storm hit, Reuters reported. Houston-based CrowdSource Rescue said that 1,135 people are unaccounted for, and the organization is looking for them. Those who are missing might be with friends or family, and they are not necessarily presumed to be dead.

The report said that due to downed trees, power lines, and large quantities of debris, it’s been difficult to search for and rescue people.

Epoch Times Photo
Devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Michael is shown from above in Mexico Beach, Florida on Oct. 15, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FEMA, meanwhile, has distributed more than 4.5 million meals, more than 5 million liters of water, and 9 million infant-and-toddler kits, according to the Reuters report, citing a FEMA spokesman.

According to the mayor of Mexico Beach, Al Cathey. He said 289 people, including 10 children, decided to stay despite evacuation orders last week, ABC reported.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hand out bottles of water-AP
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hand out bottles of water as they tour damage from Hurricane Michael in Lynn Haven, Fla., on Oc. 15, 2018. (Screenshot/AP)

The hurricane destroyed the city’s police department building.

“We don’t have a building; from my understanding, the water surge moved it off its foundation,” Mexico Beach Police Chief Anthony Kelly said. “The officers, I finally made accountability of them all today, two days after the fact. … They’re not just my officers, the people that I work with, they’re my family.”

Trump Responds

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited hurricane-impacted areas in Florida.

“The job they’ve done in Florida has been incredible,” Trump said, adding that Gov. Rick Scott “steps up in the biggest emergencies, the biggest problems, and he gets it done,” AccuWeather reported.

“Every time I called, he’s come through and done exactly what he said he was going to do,” Scott said of Trump’s response.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.