HURRICANE RELIEF: Military services among providers of Irma aid in Florida

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The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was dispatched to the Florida Keys.

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was dispatched to the Florida Keys.

Parts of Florida were not seriously damaged by Hurricane Irma, but plenty of people and places in the Florida Keys are dealing with its aftermath.

Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key on Monday with 130-mph winds and a storm surge that reached 10 feet. An estimated 10,000 people opted to stay in the northern Keys to ride out the storm.

On Tuesday the Navy dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and other ships to help deliver supplies and help with search-and-rescue operations. On Thursday the Navy recalled the carrier to its home port in Norfolk, Va., but an estimated 10,000 National Guard and reserve troops were still in the area.

All five branches of the military were participating in the recovery effort for the Keys, using the tarmac at Homestead Air Reserve Base as a launching point. The Army’s 101st Airborne Division had helicopters in position before the storm so they could be used in search-and-rescue efforts afterward.

The 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, based at Fort Campbell, Ky., sent more than 35 aircraft, 40 vehicles and 370 personnel to the affected areas.

On Wednesday JetBlue, the busiest airline at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said it would provide hot meals from 20 food trucks at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. Lunch is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner is served from 4 to 7 p.m.

To help provide batteries, mobile charging and Wi-Fi to those without those services in Florida, Duracell was working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross to mobilize a relief vehicle. Location details for the vehicle are posted on the Duracell Facebook page and @Duracell Twitter.

On the local front, the Miss GEICO offshore racing team was collecting tarps, extension cords, toiletries and other items at its shop in Riviera Beach, Fla., to bring a truckload of supplies to its fans in the Keys. Key West has been the mecca of offshore racing for decades, and the bright green Miss GEICO boat is one of the most popular in the sport.

Miami-based TV station WSVN created a relief fund for those affected by Irma in South Florida, earmarking $100,000 to the charity Feeding South Florida,

To help provide clean drinking water in Irma’s aftermath, Anheuser-Busch halted production at its Georgia brewery to can water. Six truckloads of water were sent to Florida ahead of Irma and Red Cross personnel distributed them.

Before beginning an event at the company’s new Apple Park campus on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the computer giant has given more than $10 million to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

Lastly, the NFL Foundation, a nonprofit organization that represents all 32 franchises in the National Football League, contributed $1 million to Irma relief efforts. The Jacksonville Jaguars donated $1 million to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, the Miami Dolphins provided $1 million to the AARP Foundation Miami Dolphins Hurricane Irma Relief Fund and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave the same amount to the American Red Cross.

The NFL said it encourages fans to text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Relief and to visit to donate to the fund.

About 1.9 million Florida customers were still without power this morning.

“FPL crews are restoring power as quickly and safely as possible,” Florida Power & Light said at its website today. “We estimate we will have restored power to essentially all of our customers along the east coast service territory by end of day Saturday, Sept. 17, and for customers along the west coast service territory by end of day Sept. 22, with the possible exception of areas impacted by tornadoes, severe flooding and other pockets of severe damage.”


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