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‘Hard to see;’ La Quinta volunteer helps hurricane Ian recovery efforts in Florida

Clean-up efforts continue in Florida, after Hurricane Ian tore through the state.

A La Quinta resident is now in Florida, helping to pick up the pieces from the destruction left by Hurricane Ian.

Last week, News Channel 3 spoke with Sarah Brouse as she was on standby. She's among hundreds of trained volunteers from across the country mobilized to Florida.

Brouse got the call on Friday night. “I flew out Saturday which was 24 hours.”

She landed in Tampa Bay, and made her way down the most vulnerable areas. “The further you go south, the worse it gets,” Brouse said.

Brouse is a volunteer with the American Red Cross, who has traveled across the country to help in the Florida's most hard hit cities such as Naples and Fort Myers. “Fort Myers was hard because there was people sitting outside of their homes. There has been a lot of looting and I think they're trying to protect what's what's left, what little there is left. So that's hard to see is when the people get involved, and you see them actually, that's hard.”

Over the weekend, Brouse and her group surveyed the damage in several neighborhoods, noting which areas need the most help.

“Fort Myers was bad was really bad. There's billboards, there's no there's no power and a lot of Fort Myers and a lot of businesses are closed restaurants are closed. There's food shortages," Brouse explained, "We visited a mobile home park today that was right along the coastline and there there's not much left.” 

Rubble and debris can be seen across the state, after major flooding demolished homes, car, buildings and so much more.

At least 100 people were killed in the catastrophic storm.

“A lot of the times, it's the the poor communities. The poverty areas that get hit the hardest, and they're the ones that need the help. They don't have a second home, they don't have family, they don't have other resources,” Brouse explained.

As an American Red Cross volunteer for the last 4 years, Brouse tells us she’s assisted in other disaster situations. She said seeing the destruction left by Hurricane Ian has been especially tough.

“I do see it a lot. But this, this is on a different scale. This is classified with the Red Cross as a level seven disaster, which is exactly what Katrina was labeled.”

She explained how she and other Red Cross volunteers step in to help. “We'll send out cleanup kits for people that you know just need to clean their home," she added, "We have shelters open that are three meals a day and places to places to sleep.”

Brouse will be in Florida for the next two weeks to help residents and clean up as much as she can.

“There's so much that we're gonna do and I'm gonna have to leave, like I said, and in two weeks and come back home. But there's a lot, a lot of work to be done.”

Along with the American Red Cross, there are organizations like Volunteer Florida and Global Giving that are helping hurricane victims. 

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Good360 are other organizations that offer help.

Article Topic Follows: Local News

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.


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