How to support Florida after Hurricane Ian

Less than a week after Hurricane Fiona devastated much of Puerto Rico and parts of the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Ian swept through Cuba and Florida, leaving a trail of devastation that spread across the East Coast. These storms, which climate scientists expect to become increasingly severe in the coming years due to the climate crisis, have not only caused flooding, property damage, and power outages, but have also exposed deep inequalities in the US and beyond.

In Fort Myers, CapitalB reported that Black city residents in the Dunbar neighborhood feared federal aid would not reach the community. While FEMA spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg responded to the story by tweeting that emergency response teams would be going door-to-door in Dunbar, there is still a widespread sense of unease surrounding the state’s recovery.

That’s in part because Florida’s top lawmakers recently voted against measures to reduce the impact of climate change. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio opposed a new climate law that would allocate hundreds of billions of dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the New York Times. Governor Ron DeSantis made a similarly questionable decision when he did not allow the state pension fund to take climate change into account in investment decisions.

Also documented is the fact that communities where people of color make up the majority of the population are often the last to receive disaster recovery aid.

The hurricane brought down entire buildings in Cuba and destroyed the nation’s power grid. Parts of the island were spared, but certain towns and cities were completely devastated, according to PBS News Hour.

Florida and Cuba face long roads to recovery. Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane, and by the time it reached the Florida coast, the storm had rapidly escalated to a Category 4 hurricane. In Florida, the death toll has been the highest in any storm since 1935, according to AccuWeather. The storm has killed more than 100 people, and some reporters have described parts of central Florida as war zones.

Below are several organizations working to help Florida and Puerto Rico communities severely impacted by the storm.

Mutual Aid of Central Florida
Central Florida, which includes cities like Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa, was one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ian. Mutual Aid of Central Florida provides direct aid, support and assistance to Central Florida communities year-round, and after the storm, this support will extend to disaster recovery. You can donate here.

Mutual Aid Disaster Relief
Where there is a disaster, this organization is likely to keep a close eye on it. It is a grassroots disaster relief network “based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid and autonomous direct action”. The group has already begun working with communities in Florida on storm recovery and supports mutual aid disaster recovery efforts around the world. You can donate here.

convoy of hope
This organization is based in the Midwest but offers help across the country. Team members are currently in Fort Myers working with community members to provide food, resources and other forms of recovery assistance. You can keep up with Convoy of Hope’s post-Hurricane Ian efforts and donate to the organization here.

people forum
This organization is based in New York City, but is raising funds to send to Cuba to help with recovery efforts. Due to policies that make transferring money to the nation more complicated, the People’s Forum will work to ensure that the money raised can be transferred to groups working on Cuba’s recovery. You can learn more about The People’s Forum on their website and donate directly through this link.

Footprint Project
This organization deploys mobile disaster units to help communities affected by natural disasters rebuild and rebuild more sustainably. This organization has already sent crews to Florida to begin assembling solar power generators, which will be crucial as the state struggles to restore power after the storm. You can donate here.

This list will be continually updated. If the recent spate of severe weather events has made you think even more about climate change, check out Thrillist’s story on how his vote in the midterms can help the climate movement. Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Fiona and you can donate to organizations on the island here.

Recovery in Florida is expected to take a long time. “We are beginning to see the scale of that destruction,” President Joe Biden said on September 30, according to CNN. “It will take months, years to rebuild. And our hearts go out to all those people whose lives have been absolutely devastated by the storm. America’s heart is literally breaking.”

Leave a Comment