‘We have no place to go’: Aerial photos reveal the trail of devastation in Florida left by Irma as Keys residents return to find up to 90% of homes have been destroyed or damaged

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
By Paul Martin

Most Floridians are returning to their homes this week to face sweltering heat without air conditioning
In Florida Keys, 90 per cent of properties have sustained some damage, with 25 per cent totally destroyed
Approximately half of Florida’s population is still without power and it could take weeks to fully restore
Parts of the Florida Keys are still inaccessible as officials test bridges to make sure they are safe
Irma, downgraded to a tropical depression on Tuesday as it swirled over the Alabama-Mississippi border
At least 18 deaths in the United States have been connected to Irma, and at least 37 in the Caribbean
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump plan to visit Florida on Thursday and survey damage

By Jessica Finn and Ashley Collman
13 September 2017

Hurricane Irma evacuees are returning to Florida to find their homes ripped apart and flooded by the devastating storm – and millions face a long road of recovery ahead.

Aerial footage from around the state reveals the sheer damage residents face, as roofs tore off buildings, mobile homes toppled over, and trees uprooted and smashed into houses during the massive storm.

Irma killed 12 in Florida, in addition to four in South Carolina and two in Georgia as it carved a path through the Unites States over the last week. At least 37 people in the Caribbean were killed by the storm.

More than 20,000 troops and five naval ships have descended on the region to help with relief efforts and carry out search-and-rescue missions.

While nearly all of Florida was engulfed by the 400-mile-wide (645-kilometer) storm, the Keys – home to about 70,000 people – appeared to be the hardest hit with 90 per cent of homes destroyed or damaged.

‘I don’t have a house. I don’t have a job. I have nothing,’ said Mercedes Lopez, 50, whose family fled north from the Florida Keys town of Marathon last Friday and rode out the storm at an Orlando hotel, only to learn their home was destroyed, along with the gasoline station where he worked.

‘We came here, leaving everything at home, and we go back to nothing,’ Lopez said.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are visiting Florida on Thursday to survey damage across the state.

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