Hurricane Irma + How to Help

HURRICANE IRMA

A couple of weeks ago, the incredibly intense and powerful Hurricane Irma hit our home of Florida, causing high flooding and damage to southern regions like the Keys and Miami. While we have all lived here for many years and have experienced our fair share of hurricanes,  it was still scary to experience a storm bigger than the entire state! We want to share our experiences and provide information on how to help those who were affected by hurricane Irma.

Julie’s Experience

So like a number of Floridians, we waited last minute to decide whether to evacuate or not. Luckily, the zone that we lived in didn’t call for a mandatory evacuation, so we decided to “hunker” down and prepare as much as we possibly can. We bought our supplies, like water and other non-perishable items, and made sure that we had other things for emergencies. Believe me, I wish we hadn’t waited the last minute because it was so difficult to find those items. Another important thing was we made sure that our puppies had enough food and supplies. We also boarded up our windows and got some sandbags just in case. If you follow me on snapchat (forvanityssake) or instagram stories (for_vanitys_sake), you would’ve seen how miserable of an experience that was.

This was our first hurricane experience were we definitely felt like we needed to be prepared. We have learned some valuable lessons and hopefully will be better prepared for next time.

Meg’s Experience

I was absolutely terrified about this storm. To make matters worse, my mother, who always seems to know what to do when things like this happen, was out of the state on vacation! Thankfully, my sister came over to stay with me.

Maybe it’s my mother’s military background, but she is always prepared. She had all the essentials even though she left Florida long before Irma even developed. She had flashlights, batteries, water, and even a little cooler for cold food if the power went out. Despite having access to all of these things, I was still nervous. I got a few grocery items, but kept thinking it wasn’t enough. Thankfully, it was plenty.

I am so fortunate my experience did not even come close to some of the stories I have seen and heard. I am so happy and thankful. The community is slowly getting back to normal. It may be a while before people stop asking, “How’d you do during the storm?”, but knowing how bad it could have been, I don’t think I will get tired of answering, “Very well, thankfully.”

Stef’s Experience

I can only imagine how staying in the state can look if you don’t live here, but leaving would’ve been a privilege I don’t have. Plus, there were reports of gridlock and gas shortages. Our evacuation zone wasn’t called, so we were really hoping it would stay that way. If not, I would’ve had to help my mom finally get her cat in a cage and either go to a friend’s and hope her zone wouldn’t be called or that we could get to a faraway, more limited shelter that accepts pets.

I think that the one thing that was so scary was the storm surge. My stepmother was hysterical about it. She actually left and was texting me NOT TO SLEEP. If our power wasn’t out for 3 days, the panic may have been the worst part of my experience. I admit, I was getting ready for a few feet of water inside the house, but we only had to throw out the contents of our fridge and take one cold shower. My mother’s house is not too far, and oddly, she still had electricity which I was able to borrow to charge my phone and make ice.

There are tree limbs everywhere and the shelves are still a little empty, but we were very lucky.

Needless to say, we have been extremely fortunate to not suffer the same fate us others did when this hurricane hit. Below are some legitimate organizations where you can donate and help out those who were affected by hurricane Irma.

RELIEF EFFORTS

The Refuge
Helped homeless and other marginalized people during and after the storm.

Tampa Humane Society
Evacuated shelter animals and assisted pet owners.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Immokalee and Southwest Florida farmworker communities that often live in poverty.

The Miami Foundation

Caribbean Strong relief fund that supports small island nations and territories.

Thank you for reading!

Stef

Contributor

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14 Comments
  1. It’s still really hard for me to watch the news. What a tragic situation. Thank you for the heads up on how to help.

  2. I am glad to hear that you guys made it safely! And so sad to know that many other didnt! Not only in the US but also somewhere else in the world! Just recently a earth quake in Mexico…a whole school collapsed! Or the most terrible natural disaster, the dry in Afrika!

  3. Oh my goodness, I’ve been reading all about over here in the UK. It’s just been awful, I can’t even begin to imagine. I’m glad that you’re OK.

  4. I’m so glad to hear that things turned out well for you. My church recently did a donation drive where we donated to huge tractor trailer truck full of water and toiletries and other things that hurricane survivors may need. Truly natural disasters are a time where we should come together. thank you for the tips on how we can also continue to support.

  5. This was such a tragic situation and I can only imagine how those affected are still suffering… Thanks for letting us know how we can help…

  6. It was really painful to see such disastrous hurricane. It calls for a united support from all around the world to help the rescued and many other people in need for it. Shall check the links for sure. Thanks for creating this awareness.

  7. Hurrican Harvey and Irma and the terrible floods in South East Asia make you feel so helpless. I am glad you have put together a list of things we can do to help rehabilitate the communities.

  8. It is said that hurricane irma detroyed many livelihoods and even life as well, however it is a nature’s threat and we cant stop it.
    We also experience these kind of disaster many times that the others, and it makes us to be resilient.
    Disaster management and preparation should also be spread for awareness, not just about terrorisms.

  9. I totally agree with you when you say that you waited for the last minute to evacuate. I remember I was in Florida in 2012 during a hurricane and we did the same, but it was nothing like Irma.