Amid tragedy, we say to look for the helpers. Currently, Southwest Florida has no shortage of need for them after Hurricane Ian slammed into the region last week. As of Tuesday, the death toll from Hurricane Ian stood at 109 with more expected as search and rescue efforts continue in the area.
The island of Fort Myers Beach, which search and rescue crews have referred to as “ground zero” for the hurricane, does not resemble the stretch of land that stood before Hurricane Ian brought 150mph winds and more than 10 feet of storm surge.
A half-collapsed home sits in the middle of the road. Power lines are toppled for as far as the eye can see and debris is everywhere. One resident estimates 70% of the buildings there have not just been damaged, but completely flattened.
“We have gone to every structure, and we have done our best to account for everybody who has either not been accounted for or we have found and have been able to let their families know that they are safe,” said Iggy Carroll, a spokesman for Florida Task Force 2, the first search and rescue group to arrive to Fort Myers on Wednesday night.
Carroll’s crew is one of the many groups that have responded to the area to offer support and assistance.
Days after the hurricane, residents were helping others clean out garages and homes. There was a couple that had brought hot meals and water to those who were rescued from Fort Myers Beach. It is a widespread effort from everyday Americans doing their part to ease the struggles of others.
“It’s a relationship with one another in knowing that we’re really here for each other,” said Liz Carter, President & CEO of the Scripps Howard Fund.
The Scripps Howard Fund is one of the many organizations running a Hurricane Ian Relief Fund to provide donations to local and national nonprofits helping those on the ground in Southwest Florida.
“It’s the audiences who step up and reach into their own pockets, and a lot times, it’s people who, themselves, are not in a great financial position necessarily, but they make a space in their heart for people who are going through a more difficult time and that is an extraordinary thing to witness,” she said.
Donating to the Scripps Howard fund Hurricane Ian Relief campaign is as easy as picking up your phone by texting STORM to 50155.