Crews from Mississippi state agencies and utility workers are in Florida, to help communities recover from one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the Country. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Floridians are slowing accessing the damage from Hurricane Michael. The category 4 stormed packed winds of more than 150 miles per hour and 9 feet storm surges Wednesday, when it hit Florida's Panhandle. Reports of the devastation are still coming in. By Thursday afternoon, 5 deaths were attributed to the hurricane. Ray Coleman is with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. He says two employees left yesterday for Florida, to help coordinate logistics. He says the state's Office of Homeland Security has sent a 42 member swift water rescue team.
"We also have some folks from the Mississippi Department of Health and we also have a contingency from the Mississippi National Guard that have gone over as well. So again just anyway that we can provide assistance to our tri-partners in Florida we're going to do so," said Coleman.
Mara Hartmann is with Entergy Mississippi. She says 126 people volunteered to go to the Panama City area including lineman and support crews, to begin the work of rebuilding the state's electrical power grid. Hartmann says their crews will join teams from other states to get the work done. She says workers were supposed to leave Wednesday, but there weren't enough hotel rooms so they left Thursday morning.
"We'll have some crews down there that will help remove trees and other debris that most be removed before you can access the grid to start replacing broken poles and broken lines. But that's primarily what they'll be doing," said Hartmann.
Hartmann says crews will stay in bunkers and in 18-wheeler trailers. Both Coleman and Hartmann say Floridians have come to the aid of Mississippians during Hurricane Katrina and other devastating storms, now they want to give back.