Tags: Newsmax TV | hurricane michael | marco rubio | panama | mexico beach

Marco Rubio to Newsmax TV: Parts of Florida 'Gone' After Hurricane Michael

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

By    |   Thursday, 11 October 2018 04:46 PM

Parts of Florida's panhandle were completely leveled by Hurricane Michael and will need massive rebuilding efforts, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Newsmax TV.

Rubio phoned into Thursday's "America Talks Live" as he was driving with his team to the area surrounding Panama City to survey the damage left by the destructive storm and help facilitate communications between people on the ground and the federal government.

Calling Mexico Beach "an iconic, old Florida town" and a "well-kept secret but well-visited," Rubio said the beach just to the east of Panama City was hit extremely hard.

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"From all accounts, it's gone. We were watching some drone video from FEMA's headquarters, there are a couple structures standing, probably not habitable anyway because the water got in them. But for the most part, what you saw is just foundations. That's gone, and we'll see how that's all rebuilt."

Regarding Panama City, Rubio said there is "significant damage across the board and in every sector. Hospitals that have had to either relocate patients or operating on backup energy. The electric grid is shredded."

The senator noted that getting power restored to the hardest-hit areas will take some time because there are wires down everywhere and water is in the streets.

Rubio said a quick and effective response is needed to help people get back on their feet.

"We have a massive economic and housing challenge ahead of us, and it's the kind of thing that if we don't respond too quickly and the best we can, it could very well change the character of the community and affect it for a generation," he said.

Regarding the death toll from the storm, which according to news reports stood at six Thursday afternoon, Rubio said that number will likely climb because some people chose not to heed evacuation orders on the panhandle.

"Sadly, as the day goes on — and I hope I'm wrong — we're going to be getting updates on a death toll obviously higher than the current numbers are at the moment," Rubio said.

Michael slammed into Florida as a category 4 storm Tuesday with sustained winds around its eye wall of 155 mph. The winds were 2 mph short of classifying the storm as a category 5.

The storm then cut a path through Georgia and South Carolina, and on Thursday it was dumping rain and packing winds of anywhere between 30 and 50 mph in North Carolina.

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Parts of Florida's panhandle were completely leveled by Hurricane Michael and will need massive rebuilding efforts, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Newsmax TV.
hurricane michael, marco rubio, panama, mexico beach
Thursday, 11 October 2018 04:46 PM
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