Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said he expects the body count from Hurricane Michael to continue to rise over the next few days, on CNN’s “New Day” Friday.
“I expect the fatality count to climb today and tomorrow as we get through the debris and I’m very frustrated by that,” Long said. (RELATED: Mike Huckabee Says Hurricane Michael Is A Crisis But Will Bring Americans Closer Together)
“We seem to not learn this lesson in this country and you know, these guys behind us, they get to deal with the aftermath,” he added. “They’re often the source of blame when everything goes wrong after disasters and it’s a vicious cycle. Bigger FEMA’s not the answer. Building codes, resiliency, pre-disaster mitigation is the answer.”
Long also lamented how often people ignore warnings about deadly storms and said people have tragically lost their lives because they didn’t exercise enough caution.
“We keep having to issue the warnings. Look I, like anybody, love the ocean. I love the mountains, but when you want to live in these areas hazards come with them,” Long said.
“The bottom line is when we ask people to evacuate and we clearly asked people to evacuate and the governor asked people and we even used the wireless emergency alert system to warn people that the ocean was going to rise and do this type of destruction — people still failed to heed the warnings and they’ve lost their lives,” he continued.
Long said he hopes the death toll doesn’t rise “dramatically” but said there’s a distinct possibility it will given how many people stayed behind.
Hopefully it doesn’t rise dramatically, but it is a possibility from where we are, unfortunately. Today we’re going to be concentrating on people as well, so we’re moving our disaster assistance survivor teams into areas. We’re going to concentrate on those stuck in shelters right now. The president proactively approved Governor [Rick] Scott’s major disaster expedited request yesterday and so there are five counties that are eligible for individual assistance right now in Florida. That number will grow.
“We’re going to move as fast as we can, as rapidly as we can to help people, but this is the type of event where it’s going to take neighbor helping neighbor,” he said.
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