MATTHEW IN FLORIDA: National Guard to ready Florida schools to open

MIAMI (AP) – Gov. Rick Scott says the National Guard will help ready Florida schools to reopen in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, especially those used as shelters.

A number of school systems in areas affected by the storm plan to remain closed Monday. Scott said in a news release Sunday it’s important to get children back to their studies and noted that some kids get their only real meal at school.

Scott says the state’s full resources are offered to school districts for cleanup, repairs and issues with damaged buses.

The governor has the Florida National Guard to assist with cleanup efforts at any schools that served as shelters if school districts request it.

President Barack Obama is declaring a major disaster in Florida, meaning that the state can become eligible for additional federal aid.

But Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the declaration was limited to help with debris removal and emergency protective measures. That means the state will not receive aid for individual assistance or for funding to help with government buildings and roads.

Hurricane Matthew scraped along Florida’s eastern coast and caused power outages, beach erosion and flooding and is responsible for at least four deaths. State officials said that as of mid-day Sunday that there were nearly 423,000 people still without power.

Scott said in a statement that Florida did sustain for “significant damage” and that he will continue to submit requests to the federal government for additional assistance.

More than 442,000 electric customers in Florida are without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

Gov. Rick Scott’s office released the latest outage figures Sunday morning. The number represents about 4 percent of all electric customers in the state.

The most customers without power were in Duval County, with about 134,000. That was followed by Volusia County with just over 129,000 and about 42,000 in both Brevard and Flagler counties.

At the storm’s height Friday, more than 1 million customers in Florida were without electricity.

Scott has said the state’s large utilities told him their goal was to have most power restored by Sunday night.

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