Two major hurricanes hit the mainland United States in rapid succession between Aug. 17 and Sept. 6, directly causing over 100 deaths and in excess of $300 billion in total damages.
Taylor Grimm, a Southmoreland graduate and graduate student in Tampa, was away from her home northern Tampa when Irma Hurricane hit. She returned on Sept. 13 to find much of her town without power, many trees overturned, and nearly every store closed or without essentials, such as bottled water, bread, and canned goods. Wait lines for gas stations that weren’t sold out) were hours upon hours.
Grimm describes the situation before she left as “hectic,” with a friend of hers being “turned away from six shelters because they had hit max capacity.” Grimm added that there was “literally no bottled water available at any store.” She even bought packages of water for her return trip, in case the shortage persisted.
The recovery process has started, with state relief and groups like the Red Cross giving significant aid. The Red Cross has sent three mobile medical centers to her home campus, free of charge, providing general medical care, dentistry, and pediatric services to anyone who needs it. Supplies like blankets, food, clothing, as well as shelter is provided as places like college campuses, sports stadiums, and community centers.
While so much disaster has been affecting Florida, Grimm says that “people’s spirits are high, and that even during something like a hurricane, there are still good people all around. I have a friend who was taken in by a family who gave her a warm shower and charged her electronics, and even fed her. They treated her like family.”
“People are honest and caring at their core, no matter how terrible they may seem,” said Grimm.
The cleanup and rebuilding will be a long and costly one, but residents are eager to get things back to normal as fast as possibly.