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Home Global Activities America Tzu Chi Develops Disaster Relief Plan After Hurricane Ian Hits Naples in Florida

Tzu Chi Develops Disaster Relief Plan After Hurricane Ian Hits Naples in Florida

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Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest in American history, made landfall in Florida on the afternoon of September 28, local time. The southwestern coast of Florida was severely damaged. Tzu Chi in the United States immediately launched a disaster relief protocol after the hurricane passed.

On October 2, volunteers from the Tzu Chi Office in Miami immediately contacted Commissioner Penny Taylor, Board of Collier County Commissioners, whom they met during the 2017 Hurricane Irma disaster relief. Together they went to survey the hardest-hit areas, Naples City and Everglades City.

On the day of the disaster survey, Mr. James French from the Collier County Growth Management Department, who has a good understanding of the disaster area, drove the volunteers there to learn about the situation and what assistance was most urgently needed.

Seawater Flooding Severely Damaged Houses

Naples City suffered from water and power outages in most parts of the city due to the backflow of sea water. Although houses were raised from the ground, they were still flooded by three to five feet of water. all the furniture was soaked and could only be thrown away and left on the roadside for the garbage company to remove.

The Everglades City fire station was uninhabitable due to three-foot flooding. During the day, firefighters were out providing frontline assistance and had to spend the night at a neighboring fire station.

A family of three with an old dog in Danford, Naples City, chose to stay at home because they could not bring the dog to the evacuation center. Even if they wanted to go to there after the disaster, it was already full. So they only could sleep on the wet mattress at night. It was heart-wrenching. Fortunately, they met Tzu Chi’s disaster investigation team on October 2. James, a staff of the “Emergency Operations Center”, exchanged phone numbers with them to help settle the family.

Tzu Chi Develops Disaster Relief Plan

After the disaster survey, back at the "Emergency Operations Center", Penny Taylor and the Tzu Chi volunteers identified the areas in urgent need of assistance -- nearly 5,000 residents of Naples City and Everglades City. What they most required was restoration of water and electricity as soon as possible, so that they could quickly clean up their homes.

To assist in this arduous reconstruction work, Tzu Chi volunteers mobilized emergency relief efforts by:

• Plan and serve hot meals.

• Plan a mass vegetarian diet in the shelter (in line with Tzu Chi's respect for all sentient beings).

• Outreach and assessment through the Tzu Chi Southern Regional Office in U.S., including current food and fresh water needs, as well as road and local airport transportation capacity.

• Liaise with federal, state and municipal relief agencies.

• Liaise with Panda Restaurant Group restaurants and AAPI-owned small businesses in the affected areas.

• Contact Tzu Chi volunteers and their families in the affected areas.

Join Us

When Tzu Chi volunteers are safe and well, they can prepare to carry out relief. The volunteers are very busy and Master Cheng Yen, founder of the Foundation, is very concerned about their safety.

We see how a hurricane has made landfall twice in the U.S. The devastation is very severe indeed and Tzu Chi has launched emergency relief work. There are many disasters in the world. Tzu Chi wants to help those affected. So join Tzu Chi. Let us work together to bring care and warmth to the needy.

(Article: Judy Su, US report 2022/10/04)


【News】Tzu Chi in The World