Aftermath Of Hurricane Ian

Aftermath Of Hurricane Ian

Ian Schmutzler, Writer

Post Hurricane Ian, Florida has been left in dassary. Millions of people have been affected by the hurricane in what could be the worst natural disaster in the state’s history. Even after the hurricane had left to hit North and South Carolina, Florida has been left in a state of shock.


Hurricane Ian was a category four hurricane that had formed on September 23 in the Caribbean Sea. It had a devastating effect on the nations there, with Cuba, Jamaica, Hati and the Dominican Republic. The hurricane left the countries the devastion of  horrifying death tolls and mass blackouts. In the territory of Puerto Rico, almost the entire island lost power. 


When the hurricane hit Florida, the devastation was just as extreme. Over two million homes and businesses lost power. Charlotte and Lee County are effectively cut off altogether from any aid whatsoever. Two barrier islands have been similarly cut off from the mainland, and there are significant fears regarding their condition. Due to the destruction of critical bridges and roads, many 911 lines were unable to respond to calls. Citizens were forced to swim or drown. Due to the widespread damage and the difficulty of traveling to affected areas of the state, the federal and state governments have not made any official estimates of the death toll. Governor Ronald Desantis has described this as a “500-year flood event”.


Meanwhile, the situation is just as bad in Puerto Rico. Having just been hit by Hurricane Fiona, large amounts of critical infrastructure effectively collapsed in on itself. Electricity is unreliable, and approximately 20 percent of the people living in the island territory lack any electricity at all. The water supply is similarly dismal due to outages, and hospitals are running out of diesel for their backup generators.


Amid all of this, many Puerto Ricans fear being forgotten in face of the effects on Florida and the carolinas. Given Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory, it lacks any state representatives. This means that should the government cut it out of financial aid in favor of mainland U.S. states, there would be no immediate political backlash. During Hurricane Fiona, for example, only some areas were given the federal aid promised, and that aid was often slow to arrive. More than 43 percent of Puerto Ricans live below the poverty line, more than three times the poverty rate in continental America. If the promised aid does not come, then this lack of proper income will cripple life moving forward for many living in Puerto Rico.


Thankfully, it appears that the Biden Administration has not forgotten about the island territory. President Biden has said “I want to be clear: To the people of Puerto Rico, we’re not going away¨. He has declared a state of emergency, allowing the delivery of emergency funds directly to the rebuilding of critical infrastructure on the island and the removal of debris. Though this state of emergency is only to last for 30 days, it will provide funding critical to the rebuilding of the island territory post hurricane.