Florida’s death toll from Hurricane Wilma rises to 10
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 — The number of deaths in Florida from Hurricane Wilma rose from five to 10 on Wednesday and some 2.8 million homes and businesses were still without power, two days after the storm hit the southeastern US state, state emergency management director Craig Fugate said.
Recovery efforts were under way in hurricane-affected areas, with some streets cleared of debris, a few restaurants opened and domestic flights resumed at Miami International Airport.
About 3.2 million of the 4.3 million customers of Florida Power & Light, the state’s biggest utility provider, lost power supply during the storm, the eighth hurricane to hit Florida in 15 months, which made landfall early Monday and caused an estimated damage of up to 10 billion US dollars.
The company said that by Wednesday service was restored to about 20 percent of those customers affected, and CNN reported that some 2.8 million homes and businesses were still without power.
Officials urged hurricane victims to be patient during their long waits for food, water and other necessities.
Governor Jeb Bush took responsibility Wednesday for frustrating delays at centers distributing supplies to storm victims and promised to speed up distribution. He also said people having waited for hours to get relief should have done more to prepare for the storm.
“People had ample time to prepare. It isn’t that hard to get 72hours worth of food and water,” he said.