My heart is aching for all those families who have survived a tornado, and most recently the devastation after a hurricane. I have readers sending me email after email about the trials they are having after Hurricane Michael. Here’s the deal, we hear the news for days, weeks, and a few months but not much after that, right?
I am going to break down the thoughts my readers have had to live through, it is not pretty. It’s hard to picture these living conditions in our country. We can visualize these situations in third-world countries but not in the United States. I still worry about Puerto Rico, but today I’m talking about Hurricane Michael.
Please be aware some of these situations will slowly improve, but when? Some may be repaired, but not many have been helped as of today.
Devastation After A Hurricane
The old saying “we will rebuild” doesn’t really apply here. Just imagine your community, neighborhood, schools, grocery stores, and even restaurants, gone, totally gone. Your favorite shopping mall, parks, and memories, it’s not the same place.
People are suffering greatly, they are shell-shocked, lost, depressed, and have no idea what their future may bring them.
Some families are just trying to get through the next day, living conditions are abysmal, and even the mostly unscathed are having trouble adjusting to this new way of life based on what’s going on around them.
Strict Curfew Hours
There is a strict curfew from 7:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. These times are being enforced so conveys can get through and looting can be controlled. It’s too dangerous to drive at night and the curfew is in effect so you need to plan ahead.
Anyone caught where they shouldn’t be during these curfew hours is detained to confirm legitimate reasons and will be interviewed by police or security personnel with assault rifles. Some public sites and businesses are being guarded by said police and security personnel.
Roads Without Street Lights or Traffic Signals
Almost none of the roads have working streetlights or traffic signals. Several are broken, missing from the winds or rushing water, and there are many missing stop signs, making travel even more dangerous. There are dead animals all over the roads, dogs, cats, and even wildlife because of the chaos going on in the cities.
There was a recent heavy fog that made driving even in the daytime dangerous with numerous crashes. Some of the first responders are colliding in intersections as well.
Many of the roads are unpassable or too treacherous to drive on. There are downed trees and downed power lines that are especially hard to see at night. If by chance a tire is punctured on a road, there is no way to get it fixed unless you have the supplies to do it yourself. Most of the mechanic shops are gone and you see broken-down cars along the roads everywhere. One family is using their emergency flashers to get through dark streets.
ERs and Hospitals
The ERs and hospitals are choked with the overload of people and they’re short on staff. The injured keep coming to the hospitals. Their EMS and the Fire Department are heavily tasked with rescue and recovery operations. When people are hurt their options are limited, and many must bandage themselves the best they can with the medical supplies they have on hand. Some are using their own first aid kits, that’s all they have right now.
Pharmacies are open for Limited Hours
No one could report to me about the pharmacies, only that they are open just a few hours a day.
Power is Sporadic
The power source is uneven and sporadic, and the power linemen are unsung heroes there. They have done a phenomenal job trying to restore power in many areas. The magnitude of their task is incredible and encompasses several states. They have recruited power workers from several surrounding states and all are working around the clock.
The lines, poles, transformers, and junctions all need to be replaced or repaired. A lot of areas are still dark and the source of energy can be located by the sound of generators running non-stop.
Water Is Not Safe To Drink
The water situation is bad, and even with some running water, it’s not safe to drink yet. There’s open sewage in many places, and in some places, there has been sewage running like rivers.
Some Stores Are Open
Sam’s Club, Waffle House, Target, Publix, and Home Depot are procuring supplies for the community slowly. Some are giving away food on food trucks to help the community.
Banks are Closed
The banks and ATMs are closed and do not work due to power outages.
Food Is Hard To Find
If the people didn’t have canned food available or home-preserved food they must come to the feeding sites and bring the MREs home to eat. Some of the feeding centers have limited hot meals.
Pet Food is Very Hard To Find
They need pet food really badly because it is not available anywhere unless someone has donated it to a feeding site for humans.
Cell Service is Spotty
There are a few mobile emergency hotspots set up to try and provide coverage, but they are overwhelmed and then the speed drops. The cell service is very limited.
No Cable Services Right Now
No television is available as of right now in many areas if not all. It’s hard to get the news out.
Gas is Scarce
Gasoline is hard to find because the gas stations are severely damaged or wrecked. There are a few mobile fueling sites for first responders, but all others must travel several miles to find an open gas station, and if the station has gasoline it is being rationed. Just getting to an open station is a challenge.
Trees Were Down Everywhere
Tens of thousands of trees were felled, damaged, splintered, and wood piles cover every corner, sidewalk, and the shoulders of the various roads. People were trying to burn the wood and smoke filled the air for days. Some were trying to keep warm by the fires and even cook their meals with the wood they burned.
No Mail Service
Most all the mailboxes are destroyed and no way to have mail delivered. Forget about FedEx, UPS, and Amazon deliveries, they have no place to deliver the boxes or mail.
There is no residential pick-up, and spoiled food and human waste are piling up in bags in plain sight.
Be Cautious of Fake Restoration
Be careful with tree trimmers, roofers, handymen, water damage and mold companies, and other trade groups. Unfortunately, some ruthless workers are ripping people off. Please check with others to make sure you are using reputable companies.
Of course, there are looters, thankfully the communities are doing their best to stop this.
Please check with the local police departments, churches, TV and Radio stations, Rescue Groups and the American Red Cross to send the following items as needed to the different areas.
Baby supplies, like diapers, baby wipes, bottles, formula, and diaper rash cream.
Menstrual supplies, like tampons, pads, and adult diapers.
Paper supplies, like plates, cups, bowls, plastic silverware, and paper towels.
Cleaning supplies, all types, especially bleach. Cleaning rags, mops, etc.
Baggies, of all sizes are welcome.
Disposable gloves and trash bags, all sizes needed.
Backpacks and sturdy tote buckets would be helpful for the homeless to carry their things. Ziplock bags with toiletries, space blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, camping lanterns, and camp stoves.
Hay, buckets, feed pans, halters, lead ropes, collars, leashes, food and water bowls for all size animals, crates, portable enclosures like pens, and livestock panels. Empty 5-gallon buckets can hold water or food for several types of animals. First aid supplies are needed for animals and humans.
First Aid Supplies
Every type of first aid supply is needed as soon as possible.
Life Has Changed Forever
This truly is devastation after a hurricane. No one asked for this, no one deserves this pain. This is a tragedy on a massive scale. This could have happened to you, me, or someone in our family. I personally can only try to visualize in my mind what has already happened and what still needs to be done. I can see a lot of the challenges being dealt with based on what is depicted on television, but not all issues are shown due to the delicate nature of the situation. I know these people need help. My friend, Brenda mentioned food and water are slowly getting through to many in need. May God bless those involved in this terrible situation. Please pray for all the families involved.
Hurricane Matthew: AdobeStock_123383082 by Guy Sagi