Hurricane Irma response continues - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Hurricane Irma response continues

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Hurricane Irma as pictured from space. Hurricane Irma as pictured from space.

A spokesman for Florida's largest utility is telling people who have medical equipment that relies on electricity to call 911 if they are still without power.

Bryan Garner with Florida Power & Light said Thursday that the utility has restored electricity to more than 100 hospitals in its service territory. But he said that if someone relies on medical equipment that needs power that they should not wait for the utility to restore electricity.

Garner said authorities should be alerted so they can be taken somewhere where they can be helped such as a special needs shelter.

Garner comments came a day after eight people who had been living at a Florida nursing home died. State and local authorities are conducting a criminal investigation to determine what led to the patient deaths.

The Red Cross is still receiving a huge outpouring of financial support in the wake of the back to back hurricanes and the disaster response. The organization is also facing a barrage of criticism.

Combined donations to the Red Cross for hurricanes Harvey and Irma have topped $300 million. But even as the money pours in, critics at major news outlets and on social media are advising donors to direct their gifts elsewhere.

Much of the current mistrust of the Red Cross arises from the aftermath of other major disasters over the past 16 years. After the 2001 terror attacks, the Red Cross irked many donors by earmarking some 9/11 gifts for unrelated purposes.

It was also widely criticized for its response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and later acknowledged problems that included overwhelmed volunteers and inadequate anti-fraud measures.

Meanwhile on Thursday, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence handed out food to people in a Florida mobile home community torn up by Hurricane Irma. They were joined by first lady Melania Trump at Naples Estates, a mobile home community for people 55 and older.

Around them were piles of debris, including tall piles of siding, furniture and branches. The trio handed out food and posed for photos as people approached them. Most thanked them. One man yelled, "Make America Great Again!" Another told Trump that he "married well."

The President pledged to be "there for you 100 percent." He is touring the storm damage in Florida, where many remain swamped and without electricity. Nearly 2.7 million homes and businesses, about 1 in 4 Florida customers, remain without power.

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