There are at least 1,000 people in Florida who are still missing one week after Hurricane Michael. Most of those still unaccounted for are elderly, disabled, or people who live alone, according to CNBC.
Florida officials have not given a hard number for how many missing persons they are still seeking, but the number is over 1,000. The missing people are not assumed dead. Communication is still difficult in the state due to extensive storm damage, and officials say that the missing people may be with friends or relatives.
There are still phone and power outages in many areas of the state, and debris and downed trees are making it difficult for rescuers to get into some neighborhoods. At this time, volunteer rescue groups are not being allowed in areas hit hardest by the storm for their own safety. One volunteer rescue group is still searching for more than 400 people who have been reported missing.
Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle one week ago today, slamming into Mexico Beach first. This part of the panhandle was hit the hardest by the storm, taking the brunt of 155 mph winds from the Category 4 hurricane.
Michael was the third-worst storm to ever make landfall in the U.S., according to historic weather records. It was the worst hurricane to ever hit this part of Florida in recorded weather history.
Slowly, officials are clearing away debris and contacting Florida residents to determine their status.
There are only three people still missing in Mexico Beach as of Tuesday, down from more than 30 on Monday, as reported by the Inquisitr.
A majority of residents in rural areas of the panhandle are still without power. Some people will wait for weeks before power is restored. There are 150,000 homes and businesses in Florida without power as of Wednesday, according to the BBC. Some residents are camping out in tents and sleeping bags near their destroyed homes.
Power outages and phone service outages have made it difficult for FEMA to distribute food and water and for officials to contact missing people, reports Reuters.
So far, 17 people in Florida are dead as a direct result of Hurricane Michael. The number could go higher as more debris is cleared away and bodies are found.
Hurricane Michael destroyed my home..I’m currently homeless. I’m pic.twitter.com/MABet13yFQ— Kiki Love (@KikiLov44262302) October 17, 2018
Workers are attempting to restore power and phone services to all hurricane-ravaged areas, though this process will ultimately take weeks.
The Florida Department of Health has created an online form for those who want to report missing friends and loved ones.