Residents of the Florida Keys ravaged by Hurricane Irma, which has left at least 12 dead statewide, discovered scenes of desolation as they returned home Tuesday amid a massive operation to restore electricity to millions of people still without power in three southern US states.
As emergency workers picked through the rubble, Irma's death toll in Florida rose from an earlier figure of two. The storm has now killed at least 50 people across the Caribbean and the United States.
Shattered mobile homes, grounded sailboats and jumbled mounds of debris greeted Keys residents as police began lifting roadblocks to the islands following the passage of Hurricane Irma.
European leaders visited the storm-ravaged Caribbean meanwhile amid criticism over relief efforts and the White House announced that President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, would visit Florida today.
The islands had been all but cut off since the storm struck early Sunday as a Category Four hurricane, and bore the brunt of Irma's damage while the rest of the Sunshine State fared relatively better.
With over 15 million people without electricity in Florida, one million in neighboring Georgia and 20,000 in South Carolina, authorities launched a massive effort to restore power.
French President Macron and Britain's Foreign Secretary Johnson meanwhile visited their nations' hurricane-hit Caribbean territories.
The region was the worst-hit of one of the most powerful storms on record as residents and holidaymakers became increasingly desperate.
Macron's plane touched down in Saint Martin as anger grew over looting and lawlessness in the French-Dutch territory.
The French, British and Dutch governments have faced criticism for failing to mobilize resources for the storm which was forecast days in advance.