Hurricane Ian Wipes Out Swathes of Florida
Floridians Forced to Fend for Themselves
Hurricane Ian hit Florida on September 28 as a Category 4 hurricane of unprecedented strength, wiping out everything in its destructive path. Rescue workers and residents have begun the search for missing people in the third most populous U.S. state where everyone is basically left to fend for themselves.
Prior to the arrival of the hurricane Governor De Santis declared a state of emergency which included mandatory evacuations to homes of relatives and friends for those who could do so, all of whom are left to shoulder their evacuations and now the damages as best they can. They were informed that evacuation centres should be their last resort because they are inadequate and basically unfit for human habitation. People who could not evacuate were asked to fill out online forms so that rescue workers can check on them after the storm. There were no pre-emptive evacuations of seniors homes or hospitals. Temppower cell towers have been deployed to help with emergency communications. The stories of trauma and loss are yet to come.
CPC(M-L) expresses its profound sympathies for the people of Florida affected by the hurricane and the inhuman U.S. approach to natural disasters, as well as its profound appreciation for the work of all relief workers who pour in from all parts of the country and work tirelessly under very difficult conditions.
The National Hurricane Centre called it a “life-threatening storm surge, with catastrophic 155 mph winds, 190 mph wind gusts and flooding.” Loss of power, fires, damaged water and sewage systems are all contributing to the disaster.
September 24, President Biden approved an Emergency Declaration for the State of Florida within hours of receiving the request from Governor DeSantis. The President put 700 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel to help local emergency responders and instructed that the following resources were to be pre-positioned in advance of potential storm impacts.
– 110,000 gallons of fuel and 18,000 pounds of propane for immediate deployment and personnel and equipment to support distribution.
– a variety of generators of all sizes and types and pre-positioned assessment and installation teams to provide temporary emergency power to critical infrastructure.
– 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water pre-staged in Alabama.
– 300 ambulances working side by side with local officials.
– some 1,300 Federal response workers on the ground in Florida to support emergency preparations including operations, planning, power restoration, debris removal, and urban search and rescue.
– FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech was embedded in the State of Florida to ensure needs are being met.
– FEMA established a Federal search and rescue coordination group, including FEMA Urban Search and Rescue personnel and search and rescue personnel from multiple additional Federal departments and agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, and the State of Florida. These teams deploy search and rescue efforts by sea, air, and land.
– The Army Corps of Engineers pre-staged 300 personnel to support power and fuel assessments “in close coordination with local power companies.” Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, and Tampa Electric are said to have 30,000 personnel ready to assist in power restoration. No mention of what damages they and their families have themselves suffered. “Thousands more are being made available through utility sector mutual aid agreements with neighbouring utilities in other states,” The White House informed.
– “The Department of Health and Human Services deployed a 38-person disaster medical assistance team to Miami, Florida. Two additional disaster medical assistance teams have been deployed to Robin Air Force Base in Georgia. They have also deployed a 15-person incident management team, two 15-person health and medical task force teams and 4 pharmacists to Atlanta, Georgia. More staff is anticipated …”
On the day after the Hurricane hit, the extent of the fend for yourself U.S. dictate was evident in the “Florida disaster declaration” announced by president Joe Biden. The move is reported to send federal money “to help state, tribal and local recovery efforts, including debris removal, emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation.”
It also makes federal funds available to individuals in specific counties, many in central Florida — Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota — which would allow them to “apply for grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”
It is Katrina all over again — everyone forced to fend for themselves at the mercy of a careless and racist bureaucracy and unscrupulous individuals out to benefit from the misfortunes of the people for whom the society takes no responsibility by making sure they are protected and safe.
Our deepest sympathies for the people of Florida and highest regards for them and all the disaster relief workers whose resolve and solidarity together is their greatest strength.