U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson tour damage in Florida

'$15 billion is only going to last us a few weeks,' Nelson says

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. - U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson toured the damage in Florida Monday via a U.S. Coast Guard plane.

"Fifteen billion dollars is only going to last us a few weeks," Nelson, D-Florida, said. "By the middle of October, we'll have to do another emergency supplemental appropriation."

Nelson told reporters that he is proud of Floridians after hearing remarkable stories about people helping each other out across the state during and after the storm.

"I'm proud of Floridians, because they really came together, just like that university we flew over," Nelson said. "They found 12 senior citizens abandoned in a nursing home, and the students took them into their dormitory to take care of them.

"They took 250 more people from that little town of Immokalee who had no place to go in the middle of the eye coming right here and they gave them a shelter. That's people taking care of people, and I'm proud of what Floridians did."

Nelson and Rubio, R-Florida, were escorted Monday on a C-130 Coast Guard plane, the same aircraft hurricane hunters use while gathering information during a storm.

The senators saw damage all over the state, including in the Florida Keys, where many businesses and homes were destroyed.

"This could be a long road. There is a lot of damage," Gov. Rick Scott said Monday during a news conference.

Gilbert's Resort, one of the first hotspots as people enter the Keys, was left under a milky cover of water after Hurricane Irma passed through.

Snapper's, a beloved restaurant in Key Largo, was destroyed in the storm as storm surge battered its docks.

Roof damage was reported on Long Key, and Duck Key Marina was missing parts of its roof as well.

Homes in Marathon were also toppled by the storm.

Most of the damage appears to be where Irma made landfall in Cudjoe Key and near Sugarloaf Key.

Some restaurants there were also destroyed.

After flooding receded in Key West, Scott toured the damage and said that some homes were destroyed.

"Every trailer park there overturned. I don't think that I saw one trailer park that almost everything wasn't overturned," he said.

The owner of a local coffee shop said Old Town Key West fared better than expected. She said she even rode out the storm inside her business.

"Most of the time, when I was upstairs, you could hear the howling," Maribel, of 5 Brothers Coffee Shop, said. "It was pretty intense."
 

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