Here's How to Support the Communities Affected by Hurricane Ian
The storm affected multiple areas, including Florida, Cuba, and the East Coast.
Less than a week after Hurricane Fiona devastated large portions of Puerto Rico and some of the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Ian raged across Cuba and Florida, leaving a wake of devastation that trailed up the East Coast. These storms, which climate scientists expect to grow increasingly severe in the coming years due to the climate crisis, have not only caused flooding, property damage, and power outages but have further laid bare the deep inequities in the US and beyond.
In Fort Myers, CapitalB reported that Black city residents in the Dunbar neighborhood feared that federal aid wouldn't reach the community. While FEMA spokesperson Jaclyn Rothenberg responded to the story by tweeting assurances that emergency response teams would be going door to door in Dunbar, there is still a widespread sense of unease surrounding the state's recovery.
That's partly because Florida's top lawmakers recently voted against action to reduce the impact of climate change. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio opposed a new climate law that would allocate hundreds of billions of dollars toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the New York Times. A similarly questionable decision was made by Governor Ron DeSantis when he would not allow the state pension fund to factor climate change into investment decisions.
The hurricane knocked down entire buildings in Cuba and destroyed the nation's power grid. Parts of the island were spared, but certain towns and cities were utterly devastated, according to PBS NewsHour.
Florida and Cuba both face long roads to recovery. Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane, and by the time it reached Florida's coast, the storm had rapidly escalated to become a Category 4 hurricane. In Florida, the death toll has been the highest from any storm since 1935, according to AccuWeather. The storm has killed more than 100 people, and some reporters have described regions of Central Florida as looking like a war zone.
Below are several organizations working to help the communities in Florida and Puerto Rico severely affected by the storm.
Central Florida Mutual Aid
Central Florida, which makes up cities including Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa, was one of the hardest areas hit by Hurricane Ian. Central Florida Mutual Aid provides direct relief, support, and assistance to communities in Central Florida all year round, and in the wake of the storm, this support will extend to disaster recovery. You can donate here.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief
Where there is a disaster, this organization is likely close behind. It is a grassroots disaster relief network "based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action." The group has already started working with communities in Florida for storm recovery and supporting mutual aid efforts worldwide for disaster recovery. You can donate here.
Convoy of Hope
This organization is based in the Midwest but offers aid all over the country. Members of the team are currently in Fort Myers working with community members to provide food, resources, and other forms of recovery assistance. You can keep up to date with Convoy of Hope's Post Hurricane Ian efforts and donate to the organization here.
This organization is based in New York City but is raising funds to send to Cuba to assist recovery efforts. Because of policies that make transferring money to the nation more complicated, The People's Forum will work to ensure that the collected money can be transferred to groups working on Cuba's recovery. You can learn more about The People's Forum on their website and donate directly through this link.
This organization deploys mobile disaster units to help communities impacted by natural disasters build back and build back more sustainably. This organization has already sent groups to Florida to start assembling solar-powered generators, which will be crucial as the state struggles to restore power in the wake of the storm. You can donate here.
This list will be continuously updated. If the recent wave of severe weather events has you thinking even more about climate change, check out Thrillist's story about how your vote in the midterm elections can help the climate movement. Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Fiona, and you can donate to organizations on the island here.
Recovery in Florida is expected to take a long time. "We're just beginning to see the scale of that destruction," President Joe Biden said September 30, according to CNN. "It's going to take months, years to rebuild. And our hearts go out to all those folks whose lives have been absolutely devastated by the storm. America's heart is literally breaking."