Relief Efforts in the South

Starting on the thirtieth of August, Hurricane Irma was considered a tropical storm. One day later, it was upgraded to hurricane status.

According to CNBC, Irma was the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin. This hurricane season has been the seventeenth deadliest season since the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has started collecting records in 1900. 103 people have died between Harvey and Irma this year. Accuweather estimates that between Irma and Harvey the destruction cost people $290 million.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator, Brock Long, says that approximately 25 percent of houses in the Florida Keys were destroyed, and as much as 65 percent sustained extensive damage.

Hurricane Maria, another hurricane from this season, has wiped out entire portions of Puerto Rico and as of the twenty-fifth of September, only about 5% of the island had power.

Between the Southern United States and the various islands that have taken massive hits this hurricane season, charities are spread pretty thin. At the moment, the Red Cross is in Puerto Rico predominantly. While in places like Houston, locals are launching their own relief efforts due to lack of assistance from both government agencies and the Red Cross.

After Hurricane Katrina (2005), Houston built reinforced hospitals and learned how to handle massive storms, potentially preparing for the catastrophe of Harvey. That said, some Houston hospitals were completely cut off from patients attempting to get to them during the immense flooding. Many hospitals chose to evacuate and close instead of remaining open as opposed to choices made in 2005 when there was disaster wrought on hospital patients. Nursing homes that stayed open faced harsh criticism after a photo was shared on social media featuring patients in water up to their waist. In 2005, a federal law was put into place requiring several forms of health providers to prepare disaster plans,  or even evacuate patients when necessary.  This may have potentially saved many lives in this collection of hurricanes in southern areas.

Several independent organizations are attempting relief in areas that have been affected, but for the most part, locals are forced to help themselves. Especially when the streets were completely flooded, it was a real task to try to maneuver outside organizations through to the epicenters of disaster.

Those who chose not to evacuate or have time to do so were made to assist each other, which in the end might have been their saving grace. It makes unity a priority and allows people who understand the destruction to fix the wreckage.