Hurricane Michael Victims Feel Forgotten Six Months After Storm Hit

Hurricane Michael: The Numbers

Stats compiled by the Washington Post

  • Caused 49 deaths and $5.5 billion in damages.
  • Over 31 million cubic yards of debris have been removed.
  • 72 million tons of timber were destroyed.
  • 16,000+ landowners were impacted, with most not having insurance to cover hurricane damage
  • FEMA has spent $1.1 billion in Hurricane Michael-related response and recovery efforts
  • $141 million in individual assistance has been provided to 31,000 households
  • $35 million in donations has been collected by the American Red Cross, far short of the $64 million donated to Hurricane Florence victims, $97 million donated to Hurricane Irma victims and $522 million donated to Hurricane Harvey victims.

The Problem

For a variety of reasons, there was always a concern that the victims of Hurricane Michael wouldn't receive as much attention as the victims of previous major storms. First, landfall took place right in the middle of the midterm elections, which dominated the national news cycles and took valuable time away from storm coverage. Secondly, this hurricane developed quickly and moved through the area quickly, far different from storms like Harvey and Florence which stalled over land for days or Irma, which was tracked for weeks and whose sheer size and strength captured the attention of the entire nation. Finally, Hurricane Michael struck a largely poor, rural part of the state. That shouldn't have mattered, but it's hard to believe the storm and the aftermath would have been covered the same had it hit Miami or Tampa Bay.

Roads have been cleared and power has been restored, along with water and communications, but housing is still a major issue and relief has been slower than many anticipated. The failure of Congress to pass a disaster-relief supplemental funding bill means assistance available to the victims of Hurricane Michael will be less than if it had passed and with wildfire season around the corner and an abundance of destroyed timber covering the area, the region still faces significant challenges.

Below you'll find the podcast of a segment with Washington Post reporter Patricia Sullivan, who went back to the Florida Panhandle six months after Hurricane Michael to get a sense of the situation on the ground. The podcast also features a call with a volunteer who describes what she's seen on recent trips to the area.

Click Here to read Patricia Sullivan's report in the Washington Post.

Click Here to donate to the American Red Cross and their Hurricane Michael relief efforts.

PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman


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