Irma and Maria Wreak Havoc
First, let me say that I'm writing this one week post-Irma and that I am fine, and my family is fine. I have my house, my pets and electricity. There are still thousands without one, or all of these things.
As everyone in the Western Hemisphere has heard, immediately after enjoying family BBQs and the last days of summer vacation, South Florida began bracing for a Category 5 hurricane, who had shown just how powerful she was after barreling through the Caribbean, devastating a slew of tiny islands.
The southeastern part of the state got incredibly lucky; the storm veered west at the last minute and spared us from taking a direct hit. However, our brothers and sisters in the Keys, and on the west coast, took the brunt of it. It will take the Sunshine State a while to recover, but we are fortunate that in the United States, we have an infrastructure that can support robust first response teams and federal programs that will mobilize quickly to get residents back on their feet. This was my first major hurricane since moving to Florida and I documented just some of the experience, from early prep immediately after Labor Day, to the exhausting days post-storm when the adrenaline started to wear off and the clean-up began.
Less than two weeks after Irma hit, Hurricane Maria decimated much of the Caribbean, including my little island of Puerto Rico. The island, along with Barbuda, Dominica, St. Croix and the US Virgin Islands will take years to rebuild and become fully functional again. For those of us on the mainland still dealing with intermittent power outages and interrupted Internet service, it really put things in perspective. To understand more about the devastation, The Washington Post lays it all out pretty well. If you'd like to donate towards relief efforts, the official government website is United For Puerto Rico
The Red Cross is currently looking for volunteers to assist on the ground. There is also a very small animal rescue community down there, and as you can imagine, they are stretched beyond thin. The Governor of Puerto Rico is working with the Humane Society to provide immediate relief. Also, The Sato Project is an organization that worked tirelessly before the hurricane, to help the hundreds of thousands of stray dogs on the island.
As we continue to move toward recovery, please remember to keep our Caribbean neighbors in your thoughts.