hurricane recovery

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis released his wish list for the 2020-2021 budget. It totals 91.4 billion, with much of that $400 million increase going to education. 

In the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Dorian, it is common for new charities aimed at disaster relief to crop up. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody advises donors to be mindful while giving to unfamiliar disaster relief charities.

Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria, the town of Utuado is finally getting a new bridge over the Viví River to replace the old concrete and steel one that was heavily damaged during the storm and has been closed ever since.

"This is the main road in and out of town," Héctor Cruz says, as a crew uses a crane and other heavy equipment to construct the new bridge. Cruz is the director of emergency management in Utuado, a community in the highlands of central Puerto Rico.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Hurricane Irma was at Category 4 strength when it crossed the Florida Keys in September of 2017. And the Keys are still in the rebuilding process, even as a new hurricane season starts.

There are few things Democrats and Republicans in Congress usually agree on, but one of them is rushing federal money to victims of natural disasters.

That sentiment crumbled this week when the Senate failed to advance two separate disaster funding bills. Both included bipartisan funding to help relieve damage across the country from flooding, wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes. But a fight over assistance for Puerto Rico has derailed getting a deal on the entire package.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

When Hurricane Michael struck Mexico Beach on October 10, 2018, it made history as the strongest storm to hit the mainland United States since Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Just shy of Category Five strength, the storm cut a path of destruction through ten North Florida counties, killing at least 47 people before heading into Georgia. Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation recently reported that the insured losses from the storm have topped $5.8 billion.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Four Keys cities and Monroe County have sent FEMA bills for more than $91 million from Hurricane Irma. A year and a half after the storm, they have received less than 12 percent of the money.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

It's been almost a year and a half since Hurricane Irma. And people who qualify still have a couple weeks to register for help from a program that will help pay for repairs.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

After Hurricane Irma slammed the Florida Keys in September of 2017, lots of volunteers came to help with clean up. Almost a year and a half later, there's still work to do repairing homes, and volunteers who want to help.

The challenge has been finding them a place to stay.

Hurricane Debris Remains 'Huge, Huge Undertaking'

Jan 16, 2019
News Service Of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the state Division of Emergency Management to speed money to Panhandle communities that are being swamped financially by “massive” amounts of debris from Hurricane Michael.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting Wednesday with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and local officials, DeSantis said that, in addition to upfronting disaster relief money to local governments, he will push the White House to increase federal reimbursements for debris cleanup.

Food Bank Preps For Hurricane Michael

Oct 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael struck Florida’s panhandle with Category Four strength. The Second Harvest of Central Florida is prepping nearly 6,000 boxes to send in aid impacted areas.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

During an Oval Office briefing on preparations for Hurricane Florence, a reporter asked President Trump if there were lessons to be learned from the widely criticized FEMA response to Hurricane Maria last year in Puerto Rico. Trump's response? In short: Nothing to see here.

Brian Vest / Courtesy

One year ago, South Florida awoke to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma.

The storm had slammed into the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, bringing catastrophic winds and rain. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm surge and tide produced flooding of 5 to 8 feet in the Lower Keys and winds reached 120-mph in Big Pine Key.

The storm left piles of torn down trees, couches, porta-potties, refrigerators, furniture and other debris across the islands.

Over the past year, South Florida has worked to rebuild. WLRN's Sundial producers traveled to the Keys to talk to Lynda Wells, Douglas Mader and Brian Vest, three Florida Keys residents with one mission: to help improve the lives of people in their community after the hurricane.

You can hear/read their stories below. 


Tom Hudson

Monroe County is waiting for $90 million of federal money promised to help rebuild and repair damage after Hurricane Irma and help better protect the Keys from future storms. 

FEMA Chief Preaches Local Preparedness For Disasters

May 17, 2018

Local officials across Florida shouldn’t rely on the federal government to be on the ground everywhere a day or days after the next natural disaster, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday during the annual Governor’s Conference on Hurricanes.

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