One of the top five most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the Southeast United States, Hurricane Ian, has spent its energy and is now just a rainmaker along the Eastern coast. Unfortunately, in its wake, Ian has left around a million people still without power, cell service, or internet connections and that doesn't even begin to cover the complete destruction of neighborhoods, towns, and infrastructure.
As of last night it appears that we lost around 77 people so far, in just Florida, mostly from drowning in the wake of the incredible storm surges. Officials expect that number to go up once they can finally get to some of the hardest hit areas that remain impossible to reach still today.
Ian continued to do damage, and drop heavy rain, on the Carolinas and parts of Virginia causing local flooding and some minor power outages. The amount of loss from Ian will take months and likely years to fully recover from.
Businesses and many outer islands are destroyed. The roads on and off some big islands are impassable because the storm wiped out the causeways or bridges stranding hundreds of people. In many cases boats can't even reach them yet. People are scared, dispirited, and wondering how are they ever going to recover from this.
The Federal Government, through primarily FEMA, is offering shelter and financial help to those effected by this tragedy. Here is the continuing problem with FEMA, they are clueless as to how to get help to the people who need it the most.
Lest you think this is a Biden administration issue, let me remind you of Katrina with Bush and Maria with Trump, and I could offer plenty more with other Presidents also on both sides of the aisle.
I have heard people talking on TV that have just lost everything and they don't know what to do. Reporters have told them that FEMA has set up temporary shelters in the Miami area and in the Florida panhandle area. It is on their website. Perfect. The people that need them have no cell phone coverage and no internet connections so how are they supposed to know this?
Additionally, businesses, or homeowners for that matter, that need some financial assistance are told by FEMA to go on line and fill out forms first because that is their procedure for getting help to them. Great, except they too have no internet connections, or for that matter, have no computers because they were destroyed in the storm.
How stupid is the government to not realize that putting things on-line is wonderful unless you have no way to go on-line. They need to have a plan "B" for those poor people. What happened to the pop up tents they used to use back in the day where they actually had fannies on the ground helping people?
I know it is easier and cheaper to use the internet but that isn't always the answer to a problem, so good old fashioned paper and pencil need to be available for those that need it. It is frustrating for me to sit on the sidelines and not be able to help but the last thing these people need, especially the crews trying to restore electricity, water, etc., is for outside people to come in and be in the way.
FEMA, and the President, need to come up with a new strategy going forward to help people that have no internet access, if even for a short while, so that they can file the paperwork they need to in order to get help. This is a national disgrace and somebody needs to do something about it once and for all.
Please send whatever you can to help those that have lost everything and don't forget about the pets of these people, they need help too. Good luck to each and every person that Ian has hit.