Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful storms to reach the U.S. mainland. A week after the system hit, residents who live in Florida’s southernmost chain of islands were allowed to return and survey the damage.
CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.
It was not a typical Sunday drive for residents of the Florida Keys. A week after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, officials allowed residents to drive back and see firsthand what the storm left behind.
“We drove all the way down from Massachusetts to come see our place,” Joanne Ferreo told us. “This was our year round. This was not just like a snow bird place or anything like that. It is devastation inside.”
Locals returned knowing they would need a lot of patience. Much of the low-lying island chain is still without power, and numerous roads are nearly impassible due to fallen trees and power lines.
Utility workers are trying hard to light up a devastated zone. Meanwhile, outsiders were also doing what they could.
“We got three trucks packed, and we’ve been giving things away from mile marker 19 all the way up, and this is what we have left,” volunteer Alvaro Ordonez said, showing the supplies he was trucking in.
Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related.
Many residents are in an entirely new situation, scavenging for goods brought from Miami.
With a majority of homes damaged or destroyed, and more hurricanes possibly threatening the Florida Keys, locals are left wondering how they’ll recover.
Joanne and her husband Joe remain stoic, knowing they at least have each other.
“We’ll get through it. Husband and I we’ve been married 52 years. And we’ve been through everything. And we will do it again.”