Florida family spells out 'HELP' with logs after Hurricane Michael devastates area

This satellite image taken on Friday shows part of Mexico Beach after the storm swept through

This satellite image taken on Friday shows part of Mexico Beach after the storm swept through

U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) help distribute water in the town of Lynn Haven, Florida, during a tour of areas ravaged by Hurricane Michael in Florida U.S., October 15, 2018.

Trump landed Monday at Eglin Air Force Base near Valparaiso.

At least 18 people have died, and more than 1,500 are informally missing as a result of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in the Florida panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, carrying sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

The White House did not give a detailed schedule for the visit, which comes as search and rescue crews continue to look for people who remain missing after the storm. In some cases, only the foundations were left standing. Debris was everywhere. Near Mexico Beach, a water tower lay on its side and trucks were scattered like toys in a parking lot.

At a FEMA aid distribution centre in Lynn Haven, Florida, before handing out water bottles alongside his wife, the President described the damage caused by the storm that killed more than a dozen people after it made landfall last week. On the drive toward Panama City, the president could see houses smashed by trees, bent billboards and a demolished trailer park.

Meanwhile, with power poles and lines down everywhere, power crews were hard at work trying to fix the damage.

In the nearby city of Lynn Haven, where blue tarps topped numerous homes, Trump walked up to a house where a massive pine tree lay on the front yard next to a palm tree that stood tall. "It's just bad, it's a bad situation", he said.

After Hurricane Michaelslammed through the Florida panhandle and into Georgia last week, President Trump has surveyed damage and met with officials about recovery efforts.

Survivors grappled with power outages and shortages of food and water amid the mazes of uprooted trees and debris.

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"Some of them have no trace of a home", Trump said.

Gov. Rick Scott said state officials still "do not know enough" about the fate of those who stayed behind in the region.

Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said he expects to see the death toll rise.

Emergency officials said they've received thousands of calls asking about missing people, but with cellphone service out across a wide area, they found it impossible to know who among those unaccounted for were safe but just unable to dial out to friends or family.

"We still haven't gotten into the hardest-hit areas", he said, adding: "Very few people live to tell what it's like to experience storm surge, and unfortunately in this country we seem to not learn the lesson". "So we're just going to leave it. Hold onto the land and I have a 10-year-old grandson and hopefully when he gets 50 he can retire down here". "Also thinking about our GREAT Alabama farmers and our many friends in North and SC today".

Trump noted that "we're doing more than has probably ever been done", and as he introduced himself to a police officer, said: "In 30 days, you will not recognise this place".

Florida officials also had to evacuate about 3,000 inmates from two prisons that were damaged by the hurricane.

Search-and-rescue teams found at least one body in Mexico Beach, the ground-zero town almost obliterated by Hurricane Michael, an official has said.

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