Saturday, September 16, 2017
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Why has the U.S. government not loaned a helping hand to those affected by Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands? While the U.S. Virgin Islands are not attached to the mainland of the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands are very much so a part of the United States. Perhaps the President could show those in the islands affected by Irma some hope with a visit to the islands ravaged by last week's storm. The people of the U.S. Virgin Islands have a long, tough road ahead of them as they rebuild their homes and communities. The U.S. Virgin Islands will likely take months or possibly even years to rebuild, and these fellow Americans need our help, and they need it now. With that being said, let's forgo that next overpriced lunch or dinner, and give to those in the U.S. Virgin Islands in need, as to let them know that we here in America have not forgotten our fellow Americans.
HOW TO HELP:
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Imagine leaving your home and wondering if your home would still be intact when you returned. On August 23rd 1992 I walked out my front door, turned around, looked at my home, and asked God to protect my and my parents' dream home. As it turned out, even God could not protect and save our home. With shutters and protective glass on every window including the front doors, our home could not survive the wrath of Hurricane Andrew. In fact nothing was able to withstand and survive Hurricane Andrew.
Hurricane Andrew was the most destructive hurricane to hit the state of Florida. Andrew was the costliest and strongest hurricane to hit the United States, until it was surpassed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With sustained winds of 165 mph and tornadoes causing winds over 265 mph, Hurricane Andrew destroyed 63,500 homes and damaged more than 124,000 other homes. Damages from Andrew cost $26.5 billion and left 65 people dead. It is suspected many more people died in the path of the storm, but were illegal, undocumented farm immigrants. The smell of death was in the air for months to come. It was rumored that late at night the bodies of the undocumented deceased farm workers were being burned, and in the darkness of the night and not a light in sight, a large fire could be seen in the distance.We knew the rumors were true. We felt it, we smelled it, we knew. Hurricane Andrew's fury was felt by all in Miami-Dade County.
|Two and a half story shutter failed and was completely open. This was taken after the shutter company came to repair all destroyed shutters.|
Those of us who were directly affected by Andrew will be the first to say that nothing can prepare one having one's home destroyed. Upon my return to my home, I observed neighbors walking aimlessly back to their homes in a state of shock. One man sobbing held a painting he'd found among the rubble. As I walked up to my home I was greeted by my car that had been thrown to the end of my driveway. The car was picked up and had a hundreds years old large Ficus tree uprooted and dumped atop of it. I entered my home through the living room windows thats shutters had been blown open, and then what I saw was horrific. My home was destroyed. A two and a half story windows shutter had failed and allowed the storm inside my home. Once the winds entered they had to escape, blowing our roof in places and blowing glass doors and windows apart. Tables, chairs, and other furnishings were tossed around like children's toys, and water was everywhere. Living close to the ocean brought fish, and crabs into our home adding to the already deplorable stench of spoiled food, molding walls, mildew, and rain water. In addition to fish and crabs, a ten foot salt water crocodile had been displaced by the storm and was now residing in our canal in back of our home. Our home although still standing appeared to have been hit by a bomb. Our neighbors homes looked much the same. My next door neighbor literally had a hole 6'x8' in the side of his concrete home from an object having been catapulted through it. The window above the hole was still intact. Suffice it to say, every home in my neighborhood was destroyed and uninhabitable for the next one to three years.
|Window on far right was left open without the shutter that was never found.|
|Tile went through shutter, and was found embedded in a solid wood bureau.|
The days after the storm brought news media helicopters waking us up as they did fly overs to show America those of us hit by the storm. The media was in awe of the boats thrown around my neighborhood. Neighbors found other neighbors boats in their swimming pools and in the mangroves across the way. As the media found the wrath of Hurricane Andrew intriguing, those of us hit by the storm struggled to save belongings before ceilings collapsed and before clothes, books, and pictures could be over taken by mildew. We tore out smelly carpeting, dumped storm water out of dishes in cabinets, and packed up everything undamaged as to move out of our destroyed home. Our destroyed home took six years to rebuild.
The night of Hurricane Andrew meteorologist, Brian Norcross, told listeners that life would never be the same for those affected by Hurricane Andrew. He said there would be divorces, there would be suicides, and there would be widespread depression. He was correct. What he failed to mention was that there would be financial ruin, strife, and stress. While the agony of losing one's home to a natural disaster is more than one can bare, the fight one has to put up against one's insurance company and greedy contractors can be even worse.
Unfortunately, along with catastrophic disasters come insurance companies that don't want to pay and refuse to pay. Along with non-compliant and ruthless insurance companies are scam artists and greedy contractors. People from near and far prey on desperate people . Some contractors licensed and unlicensed took deposits from several people and skipped town, never to be heard from again. Other contractors spreading themselves too thin took money and were unable to fulfill their obligations in a reasonable time frame. Then there were the contractors that did the work but scraped corners and failed to build as according to new post Andrew building code. Andrew brought out some of the best in people and some of the worst in people.
For those affected by a catastrophic natural disaster, life will never be the same. I've seen grown men cry, and I've seen women stand strong. I've witnessed generosity, I've witnessed greed, and I've witnessed corruption. It's true, life never was the same. For those affected by Harvey, my heart goes out to them. For those that will be affected by Hurricane Irma, my heart goes out to them as well. For mainstream media, catastrophic natural disasters are only of interest for as long as the story is fresh and hot. Once another story becomes hot, mainstream media and the rest of the nation forgets those affected by devastation of yesterday's storm. Unfortunately, for those affected the wrath of yesterday's storm, the anguish lives on. With that being said, be thankful for your roof overhead, and say a prayer for those affected by Harvey and Irma, as well as those soon to be hit with Irma's fury.
(c)Sean Bianca GOP GIRL2017
*Please note that I am not seated next to a genuine ivory tusk. It is faux ivory as I am an advocate for the saving of elephants as well as all wildlife.