Via Thomson Reuters: Hurricane strands many in Florida Panhandle's poor, rural backcountry. Excerpt:
FOUNTAIN, Fla., Oct 16 (Reuters) - Bernard Sutton, a 64-year-old cancer patient, and two buddies have been living out of a camping tent and broken-down minivan since his double-wide trailer home in rural Fountain, Florida, was torn apart by Hurricane Michael last week.
On Monday, five days after the storm plowed into Florida's Gulf Coast, Sutton was standing over a heap of clothes, books, furniture and other belongings he had salvaged from the wreckage.
"I'm staying out here to try to keep away looters, to try to save what I can save," he said. "This is everything we own right here."
With his wife having moved in with a sister for the time being, Sutton said he had no means of transportation even if he was willing to leave. He had been working on the minivan's motor when the storm hit, and ended up taking cover from the hurricane on the ground underneath his shattered trailer.
Sutton, who worries about how he will make it to his next round of chemotherapy, is one of countless hurricane survivors in the backcountry of Florida's Panhandle who have struggled for days without power, running water or sanitation as they await help from authorities.
While the attention of emergency officials, the media and even President Donald Trump has been focused on the devastated beachfront towns hardest hit by the storm, residents in battered communities farther inland said they were making do until disaster relief was able to reach them.
"Everyone needs help. We're devastated out here. We're wiped off the map," said Gabriel Schaw, 40, gesturing to a handful of neighbors surrounding his own demolished mobile home in Fountain, an unincorporated Bay County community off U.S. Highway 231 northeast of Panama City.
Schaw said the first sign of outside help he had seen was some firefighters conducting checks nearby on Monday morning.
At least 85 percent of customers in four other mainly rural Panhandle counties - Calhoun, Franklin, Liberty and Gulf - remained without electricity on Monday, state officials said.
Schaw was camping out on his mattress in what remained of his trailer's living room, now exposed to the elements with an exterior wall and part of the ceiling ripped open. With no power, he was unable to pump fresh water from his well.