Half of Florida is without power and officials say it could take weeks to restore service
More people in the U.S. state of Florida will get to see Tuesday the damage left by Hurricane Irma, while half of the state's population remains without power and roads in many areas are covered by flood waters or debris.
Monroe County was set to allow entry to people living in the uppermost part of the Florida Keys, while the rest of the island chain remains closed with damage to its main highway. Officials said inspections were complete on most of the 42 bridges that connect the many islands in the Keys, with those examined so far all deemed safe.
The Keys were the first part of Florida slammed by the powerful hurricane Sunday morning. The U.S. Navy has sent three ships to help with rescue and recovery efforts, which will include searches of damaged homes that may contain the remains of storm victims.
"My heart goes out to the people in the Keys," Florida Governor Rick Scott said Monday after flying over the islands. "There's devastation. ... I just hope everybody, you know, survived. It's horrible what we saw."
Scott said recovering from Irma will be a "long road" for the state. He told reporters 23,000 electrical utility workers from Florida and thousands more who came to help from other states were working to restore service, but that some people should be prepared to be without power for weeks.
Hurricane Irma has been blamed for at least five deaths in Florida, two in the state of Georgia and two in South Carolina. It killed at least 35 people as it tore through islands in the Caribbean last week.
Australian Voters Begin Receiving Ballots on Same-Sex Marriage Survey
Tuesday marks the start of a month-long voluntary vote that could eventually legalize same-sex marriage in Australia.
As many as 16 million Australians will receive a mail-in ballot asking them to vote either "yes" or "no" on the issue and mail it back by November. If a majority of ballots are marked "yes," Parliament will follow through with a formal vote in December.
A new opinion survey released Tuesday indicated 70 percent of those questioned said they support same-sex marriage.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who says he will mark "yes" on his ballot, launched the voluntary mail-in vote after lawmakers rejected a plan to hold a compulsory vote known as a plebiscite.
Gay rights advocates unsuccessfully challenged the plan in Australia's High Court, arguing that Turnbull's government does not have the authority to spend $97 million on the mail-in ballot.
Advocates also expressed fears the vote could expose Australia's gay, lesbian and transgender community to harm. They are demanding lawmakers hold a simple up-or-down vote.