Devastation should not be ignored

Hurricane Ian’s lack of attention contributes to its destruction

Nicholas Pestritto, Contributing Writer

I’ve been visiting southwest Florida every year since I was two years old. My grandmother has a house in Naples, Florida, where my family and I vacation every year. On Sept. 29, when I woke up, it was the day after Hurricane Ian tore apart the southwestern part of the state. When I saw the destruction it had left behind, I was devastated. I thought to myself, “If I feel this way, I cannot imagine how the people who lost everything must feel.” 

As I watched the news, I realized that the beaches in Naples, restaurants along the ocean in Marco Island, shopping centers and several other places in Florida that I had visited over the years were now destroyed or heavily damaged. It left an everlasting impression on me. All of the fond memories I have, are simply washed away. 

Over the past week I have realized that, as a country, we are trying to raise awareness for this disaster, but it has not nearly been enough. I don’t think people have a general idea about the scope of destruction that has been caused by this tragedy. 

Hurricane Ian will be remembered by many Floridians for the rest of their lives. It has destroyed homes and businesses and drastically changed people’s way of life. The News Press, a news outlet for Southwest Florida reported that as of Oct. 9, there are thousands in north Fort Myers and Cape Coral still without power. These people are left to wonder how they will ever fully get back to normal. However, I feel like many people who have no connection to Florida don’t really care at all. 

In the aftermath of Ian, some of Florida’s critical infrastructure has been completely destroyed, and will take years to rebuild if at all. The Tampa Bay Times published an article on Sept. 29, with a picture showing a part of the Sanibel Causeway completely wiped out. It has now been over a week and emergency services are still conducting search and recovery missions in the aftermath of the storm, according to Fox Weather. 

There has been a lot of effort in helping the people impacted by Hurricane Ian and bringing attention to the situation, but it most definitely has not been enough. The financial contributions to different relief funds have been significant, but they will not be enough for what is needed to fully get back the parts of Florida that were hit the hardest.

Along with that, more volunteers and supplies are needed for the rebuilding and reconstruction process. Young adults and other non-residents of Florida need to pay more attention and better inform themselves about the destruction that natural disasters like Hurricane Ian cause. 

When speaking to my friends and other students, it seems that some do not care much and do not know exactly how destructive Hurricane Ian really was. I can understand the fact that this storm is not the most important thing going on in our lives, but we should understand how destructive Ian was and that many parts of Florida will never be the same after this. Natural disasters like this will continue to happen, and we need to make more of an effort to come to the aid of the people affected. 

There has been a lot of effort in helping the people impacted by Hurricane Ian and bringing attention to the situation, but it most definitely has not been enough.”

— Nicholas Pestritto, contributing writer

This is relatable to every hurricane or other natural disaster. People hear about it and pay attention to it for a few days, but then it passes and most people move on with their lives. I can understand that this is a natural response for most things, but it is time that everyone starts paying more attention and giving more of an effort to fully understand these natural disasters and their impacts on our country, even when we are not directly affected. 

Yes, putting American Red Cross and Florida Disaster Fund advertisements on television during sports games is a good strategy, but how many people care enough to actually make a contribution? According to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s website, the Florida Disaster Relief Fund has raised over ten million dollars, but will that be enough? Considering the millions of people that have been directly affected from the hurricane, probably not. That is a great number but it won’t be enough for people to fully get back everything that they lost. We need to do more that will directly help these Floridians and get them back on their feet. 

Do I think that people living in Florida should always be ready for a hurricane? No, but it should not be all on them to rebuild and raise awareness about their situation. Whether it is a financial contribution or sending supplies to organizations to bring to Florida, anything that raises awareness and actively helps the people of Florida is a success. 

 

Everyone needs to realize the true size and impact of what has happened. People who live in Florida’s surrounding states should greatly consider donating food and water, or even their time to help with cleaning up if they live close enough, to an affected area. 

It is time for us to face the fact that climate change is happening and natural disasters like Hurricane Ian, will be stronger and increasingly more deadly. The Environmental Defense Fund and the United States Geological Survey say that as climate change becomes more of a problem, hurricanes will take advantage of warmer temperatures and will grow much more intense and destructive. This should be taken seriously and we need to be more attentive to how we are treating the environment. 

It should matter to everyone that people losing everything they have is devastating and can cause extreme pain. Sometimes we take life for granted until we are directly affected, but even if you aren’t, you should stop and think about how you can play a part in helping others who are suffering from these catastrophes in the United States and across the world.