Hurricane Irma

It’s been over two months since Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, but Floridians are still dealing with mold and many are just now discovering they have it.

After Hurricane Irma, the federal government offered a food assistance program to Floridians who needed help because of the storm. The signup period for that program ended last week.

But there’s an ongoing lawsuit that might reopen registration for some people with disabilities because, the suit claims, the lines to sign up were prohibitively long.

Lines were moving much more quickly at Hard Rock Stadium at mid-day Thursday, the final day to register for disaster food assistance (D-SNAP) in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

After reaching capacity early Wednesday amid accounts of people passing out in the heat, the registration sites seemed to have finally gotten into the swing of things Thursday.

Sweaty and eager to be done waiting in line, most were just happy to get the assistance they walked away with, ranging between $192 and $1,153.

The effort to put emergency money for food into the pockets and bank accounts of South Florida meant waiting in  lines and in court this week.

D-SNAP is the government program for disaster food assistance. The federal government program returned to the region for three days this week after overwhelming demand last month led to long lines and police shutting down some distribution sites over public safety concerns. 

On the first day of make-up registration for disaster food assistance, lines were long, while lawyers who were suing over how the program has been rolled out hashed things out in court.

As soon as they could after Hurricane Irma, researchers went out onto Florida Bay to see how the estuary fared after its close encounter with a Category 4 storm.

Photo courtesy Brevard County

Brevard County residents are raising concerns about sewage discharged into the Indian River Lagoon after Hurricane Irma.

As Floridians continue lining up for food assistance due to hardships caused by Hurricane Irma, state officials announced they intend to re-open enrollment in two South Florida counties to meet demand.

Survey teams this week completed an assessment of the condition of the Keys reef tract, from Biscayne Bay to Key West.

"It's very much like what's observable on land," said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the 2,900-square-nautical-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. "In some places, the impacts are pretty dramatic and visible and in other places they are much less. So we're finding the same is true underwater."

Even in the same location, the hurricane's impacts differ.

After waiting in long lines for food assistance cards after Hurricane Irma, some of the recipients in Miami-Dade are reporting the cards could not be used within the timeline they were given. 

The Department of Children and Families (DCF), which manages D-SNAP, the Florida disaster food assistance program, said it would take up to 72 hours for cards to be activated. In some cases, people were reporting a week later they still didn't  have any money on their cards. 

Florida Hospital Memorial / Flickr

An Ormond Beach hospital will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting this year’s Florida citrus crop will be the smallest since the 1940s. The state is slated to produce 54 million boxes, down from nearly 300 million in the 2000s.

The St. Johns River Water Management District, which encompasses parts of 18 central and northeastern Florida counties, said Tuesday Hurricane Irma dropped more than two trillion gallons of water across its service area.


Excess water from Hurricane Irma is still making its way through Florida, exacerbating the significant water management challenges the state's faced this rainy season.

New research from the University of South Florida suggests evacuating nursing home patients before a storm increases the chance of both hospitalization and death.

Miami-Dade needs to improve its communications before the next storm, said Mayor Carlos Gimenez, acknowledging that the county could have been clearer about which shelters were open when in the days leading up to Hurricane Irma last month.

A half dozen homeless people in Miami-Dade County were involuntarily committed to the hospital for evaluation as Hurricane Irma continued its course towards South Florida.

Now, a month later, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has evaluated whether that was the right move.

The week before Irma hit, hundreds of people living in downtown Miami, many close to the seawalls in places that heavily flood like Bayfront Park, continued to refuse spots in a homeless shelter.

A Florida lawmaker is calling on the state to overhaul regulations for nursing homes. The push comes after 14 patients died from overheating due to a power outage at an assisted living facility.

Interior Secretary: Trump Committed To Everglades Projects

Oct 8, 2017
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke picked up a machete to help clear a swamp buggy trail in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

12th Hollywood Hills Nursing Home Resident Dies

Sep 30, 2017

A 12th resident at the Hollywood nursing home where residents sweltered to death after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to its air conditioning has died, the Hollywood Police Department said.

 

Dolores Biamonte, 57, died Thursday night, bringing the death toll from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills to a dozen since its cooling system failed and several residents perished in the rising heat Sept. 13. Her brother Robert also confirmed the death Friday morning.

Nursing Home Generator Requirements Challenged

Sep 28, 2017
Google Maps

Pointing to “impossible” timeframes, an industry group has filed a legal challenge to new requirements by Gov. Rick Scott's administration that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities quickly install generators to power air-conditioning systems.

When Hurricane Irma slammed into the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alvin Joseph was home in St. Thomas with his wife, his oldest granddaughter and four of his great-grandkids.

As the wind howled, Joseph and his wife went into the little boys’ bedroom to get a mattress and box spring for protection.

“The ceiling tiles had already disappeared out of the roof and we could see the sky,” says Joseph. “By the time we left out of the bedroom to go back in the living room—whoosh—roof was gone.”

Guillermo Porras couldn’t get in touch with his doctor for a week after Hurricane Irma.  His cell phone service was spotty after the storm and he was running low on his prescriptions.

“It’s been very difficult after the hurricane,” he said.

Even if he could get through, Porras would have found the South Miami Health Center that he visits was closed because of the extended power outage that affected much of South Florida.

Dozens of Florida communities were advised to boil their drinking water for a period of time in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, including in Hollywood, Pembroke Pines and West Palm Beach.

Hurricane Irma hung over an annual gathering of state and industry officials discussing water policy.

Rows of brightly colored chairs are set up on the little patch of grass outside FANM, the Haitian Women of Miami, a non-profit group that helps low-income families.

People sit in the Miami heat--some with toddlers in their laps--waiting to fill out FEMA applications and see what other kinds of help they can get in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Florida Hospital Memorial / Flickr

A beachside hospital on Florida's Atlantic Coast remains closed as officials evaluate the damage done to the building by Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc not only on people and buildings, but on nature. Birds were pushed by the winds from the Caribbean into Florida, and the Category 3 storm washed away beaches and bird habitat in the Everglades and Florida Keys. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida, about Irma's impact.

Here's some of the impacts outlined by Audubon Florida:

Florida Hospital Memorial / Flickr

A beachside hospital in Ormond Beach remains closed as officials evaluate the damage done to the building by Hurricane Irma.

The Lee County Mosquito Control District predicts that a large mosquito outbreak is coming as a result of heavy rain and continued flooding from Hurricane Irma.  Thursday night marked the district’s first aerial spraying to tackle the adult mosquito population since the storm’s passage.

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