Lizvelle Rivera recalls vividly how Hurricane Ian passed over her home in Fort Myers.
Since the day after Hurricane Ian made landfall, Vivian Pelham and her husband have been living out of a Red Cross shelter set up in a former healthcare clinic in Wauchula. As of Oct. 6, she hadn’t gone back to their mobile home, fearful of what she might find.
By mid-morning Oct. 4, one week after Hurricane Ian made landfall, there was a line of cars wrapped around the vast San Pedro Catholic Church parking lot and down the adjacent street, waiting their turn to get water bottles, bags of ice, and tarps loaded into their trunks to bring back home.
Looking around at fallen tree limbs and brush littered throughout her yard, Elizabeth Reyes couldn’t help but notice that the usual natural sounds of birds overhead were gone, replaced by the sounds of machinery used for power and clean-up after Hurricane Ian.
With the full picture of the widespread fallout and damages Hurricane Ian brought to southwest Florida still coming into focus, the Miami region looks on with a collective sigh of relief: What if that had hit here?
Normally an art teacher at a nearby community center, Elizabeth Reyes was surrounded by piles of her own art collection and family memorabilia, including her own wedding cake topper.
Despite being located in an inland county in southern central Florida, Hurricane Ian was slated to barrel through the area and the Peace River was getting high, so they sought shelter at Hardee Junior High School.
The world heard about Hurricane Ian’s devastation along coastal southwest Florida, but the Catholic Charities network of agencies also will focus on lesser known but equally stricken communities and devastated farmworker enclaves in the region.
As authorities in Florida continued rescue efforts, Catholic parishes and dioceses in the U.S. moved rapidly to collect aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, and U.S. President Joe Biden said it could take years to rebuild what was destroyed.
Bishop Robert Brennan is asking all the faithful in the Diocese of Brooklyn to give to the victims of the recent hurricanes.