KEYS RECOVERY VIDEO - CLICK HERE
For more information, go to www.keysrecovery.org
For frequently asked FEMA and SBA questions, click here.
Monroe County – and all its citizens – have been through a
lot these past three weeks. Our island paradise
was hit by the strongest and largest storm to make landfall in the Keys in more
than half a century.
Irma and her Category 4 winds and storm surge struck with fury. From Ocean Reef
to Key West, no part of the Keys was spared her wrath.
Some of our
citizens lost their homes. Some of our citizens lost their businesses. A few of
our citizens lost their lives.
All of us
saw our tropical island chain and blue waters transformed into a mess of barren
trees, sunken boats and scattered debris.
But we are
the Keys. We are resilient. We know this is a special place worth rebuilding.
County’s Emergency Management Team began working on the coordinated recovery
response 5 days before the storm would strike – while our visitors and citizens
were evacuating to safety.
Irma was howling, the County’s makeshift Emergency Operations Center was set up
in employee housing at Ocean Reef. More than 100 people worked by light powered
from a generator.
As soon as
the storm passed, Monroe County’s Emergency Response was in high gear. It was a
coordinated effort with the Keys municipalities and many other responding
federal, state and local entities.
On Day 1,
the National Guard was staged in full force in front of the CVS Pharmacy in
Tavernier, ready to roll. C-130s and other military aircraft flew into local
airports with emergency supplies and personnel.
Department of Transportation had four crews inspecting bridges and other crews
moving debris off of U.S. 1 and repairing washed out roadway.
Electric Coop, Keys Energy Services and the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority had
local and out-of-county crews ready to mobilize. They did an amazing job to
bring back our utilities so quickly.
County’s Sheriff Office worked alpha/bravo shifts and got help from law
enforcement teams from around the country.
Rescue teams went door-to-door throughout the County to help people who rode
out the storm in their homes and needed help.
Fire Rescue answered medical and other calls and helped remove debris. FEMA
sent Disaster Medical Assistance Teams to help fill the medical needs while the
Keys three hospitals were not in operation.
Cross helped Emergency Management set up shelters and food and water
distribution locations throughout the Keys. Non-profit and religious-based
organizations, with a small army of volunteers, helped provide meals,
distribute donated goods and supplies, clear debris from people’s houses and
deliver smiles and hugs to the survivors.
Monroe County’s employees from all departments have worked tirelessly to
restore government services to its people.
The County also
started a keysrecovery.org website to help keep people informed.
Scott the Keys’ own State Rep. Holly Raschein and other federal, state and
local representatives and agency directors came to the Emergency Operations
Center in Marathon to pledge their help and available resources.
nobody would have thought that less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma struck
the Keys with such intensity that a cruise ship would be sailing into Key West
with nearly 900 passengers aboard.
The Keys is
officially opening to visitors on Oct. 1. Tourism is our number one economic
engine and our businesses need the customers and our workforce needs to get
their livelihoods back.
But we also
know that while many parts of the Keys have recovered quicker than imagined,
the hardest hit areas from Big Pine Key to Big Coppitt Key will take longer to
hit areas and the people who live there still need our help. And many people in
other areas throughout the Keys no longer have homes they can live in and are
struggling to find housing.
County, we share more than just the Overseas Highway. We share a love of the
Keys. We know we can get through this disaster and rebuild together. Thank you
for all you’ve done and for all you will continue to do.