September 07, 2023By Joe Henderson | FLUMC
As The Florida Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Trish Warren is familiar with the challenges hurricane season brings to the state. But even by those standards, the damage wrought by Hurricane Idalia on Aug. 30 presented unusual hurdles to getting people the help they needed in the storm’s aftermath.
“The challenge with this recovery is that it’s so spread out,” she said.
While the Big Bend area of northern Florida took a direct hit from the storm that reached Category 4 status, areas up and down the west coast of the state had serious impacts. There was flooding as far south as Fort Myers as Idalia snaked up the coast, ravaging beaches and bringing storm surges fueled by winds that surpassed 130 miles per hour in some places.
This came just 11 months after Category 4 Ian blasted parts of Southwest Florida.
“There’s a lot of additional trauma to the Ian survivors with this hurricane,” Warren said. “And another issue we’re having in the North West District is finding housing for all the volunteers because of the disaffiliations in that area. Normally, they could just stay at a church while they work.
“I feel like we’re always asking for something because there has been such an increase in disasters. But people need to know that we’re just not getting the same level of help that we used to.”
In just the last two years, Warren’s team provided assistance at the Surfside condo collapse in South Florida, flooding in Broward County, an EF2 tornado that struck South West Florida, Hurricane Ian, and now Idalia.