OPA-LOCKA, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida lawmakers said help from the U.S. government is committed to help the people of the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, but there might be a limit to the extent of this federal assistance due to a set of “logistical challenges.”
U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, R-Fla., addressed the tragedy at a news conference held in Opa-locka, Friday afternoon, hours after seeing the storm’s damage and destruction first hand alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“It didn’t look like a storm. It looked like a bomb went off,” said Rubio.
“You look out there, and you just — your heart goes out to these families,” said Scott.
DeSantis, Rubio and Scott toured Grand Bahama earlier on Friday. Video recorded by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed razed trees and decimated homes.
Rubio tweeted a photo of oil spilling out of fuel tanks in Grand Bahama caused by massive flooding and strong winds. Thankfully, he said, it has since been contained.
The senator also tweeted out aerial videos of the devastation caused by the powerful storm in the Abaco Islands.
Since Dorian swept through the Bahamas, the U.S. has launched search-and-rescue efforts, including planes from the Homestead Air Reserve Base and helicopters from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Customs officials have also deployed Black Hawk choppers and planes to search for survivors.
“We’ve rescued over 100 people with critical injuries and some life-threatening injuries,” said a U.S. Customs official.
About 8,000 National Guard members and Coast Guard crews have also been deployed.
With all the help, Bahamian Consul General Linda Mackey said, it’s going to be a long road to recovery.
“A lot of people are still outside at nighttime. They want a good bath, a nice meal, so the conditions are not good,” she said. “Right now, I think evacuation is going to be a big concern.”
But, Rubio and Scott said, sending more federal help is going to be difficult.
“There are some real logistical challenges that we have to work on,” said Rubio. “If they can get power back up, and they can get a system of delivery in, then I think we’re going to be OK there, but right now it’s a borderline catastrophic situation, and we can’t get that resolved.”
DeSantis was also scheduled to attend the news conference but had to rush back to Tallahassee.
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