Source Pravda.Ru

Florida: head of U.S. Homeland Security orders to step up supplies to hurricane victims

"The idea is to just run aircraft in a circle, back-to-back," Michael Chertoff said during a visit to surburban Miami on Wednesday. "They'll fly the delivery, they'll come back and get more - as long as it takes."

President George W. Bush planned to arrive in Florida on Thursday to get his first look at the damage wrought by Wilma and to visit the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

With many Floridians still struggling to find food, water, ice and gas after Hurricane Wilma, Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, took responsibility for frustrating relief delays in a state all too familiar with powerful storms, the AP reports.

Bush's comments came amid finger-pointing by local and county officials upset with aid efforts, and criticism of the Federal Emergency Management Agency reminiscent of the anger unleashed following Hurricane Katrina.

"This is like the Third World," said Claudia Shaw, who spent several hours in a gas line. "We live in a state where we suffer from these storms every year. Where is the planning?"

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez called the relief distribution system "flawed" and said at least one of 11 sites in his county ran out of supplies.

But at another South Florida distribution site, ice sat melting Wednesday night, with officials issuing a plea on television stations: Come get it before it goes to waste.

Florida's official death toll doubled from five to 10 Wednesday, and the storm also killed at least 12 people in Haiti, four in Mexico and one in Jamaica.

Thousands of tourists remained in Mexico, forming long lines outside airports and tour offices in Cancun and the inland city of Merida on Wednesday. A.M.

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