How you can help those impacted by Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian was a monster, assaulting Florida’s west coast with winds of 150 mph and a cataclysmic storm surge. With rescuers struggling to reach those who tried to ride out the storm at home, we don’t yet know the human toll of the storm; the physical damage was almost incalculable, with pre-storm estimates of up to $70 billion in losses, which could cripple Florida’s already-staggering property insurance market.
Ian was one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit the Sunshine State.
And if you have the means — and were spared the brunt of the storm yourself — VoteWater asks that you do what you can to help.
- The Red Cross is always a good place to start. The charity is accepting financial donations and urgently needs blood donors to prevent disruptions to patient care in Florida; you can donate money here, and arrange to donate blood here.
- The Salvation Army is also accepting donations to aid victims of Hurricane Ian in both Puerto Rico and Florida here.
- Early Thursday President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Florida, making federal funding available to affected individuals in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. Federal funding is also available to state, tribal and local governments, along with some nonprofit groups to aid with debris removal in those 9 counties. To apply for aid, visit www.DisasterAssistace.gov, call 800-621-FEMA or use the FEMA smartphone app.
- Those who evacuated their homes and now need transitional shelter can visit www.fema.gov/transitional-shelter-assistance or www.femaevachotels.com, or call 800-621-FEMA.
- Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis on Wednesday announced activation of the Florida Disaster Fund, a public-private partnership run by the Volunteer Florida Foundation, which promises to use only $30,000 to cover administrative costs. Donate here.
- Those who wish to volunteer their time and efforts can sign up through the Volunteer Florida Foundation website.
The Tampa Bay Times published a smart list of practical tips regarding yard debris, food, shelter and more at this link. The Times also published an extremely helpful article on “What to do if Hurricane Ian damages your home.”
And though the storm has passed the impacts haven’t; Lake Okeechobee stood at 13.10 feet before Ian’s arrival; as of 9 a.m. Thursday morning it had risen to 13.60 feet, in part due to back-pumping to keep the canals low enough to protect the cities of Belle Glade and South Bay. Officials with the South Florida Water Management District say the storm could ultimately cause the lake to rise to 15 feet.
Ian has passed — but the effects are going to be with Florida for a long time to come.