Science and TechNatural Disasters


Floridians Are Missing The Little Things As Recovery Efforts Continue

As cleanup projects continue in Lee County, Florida, residents are getting help in recovering the little things, like toiletries and mementos.
Posted at 8:41 PM, Oct 11, 2022

Parts of battered Florida are now in recovery mode, as residents are haunted by what they saw even as they look forward the future.

"The wind, the water — it was bad," said James Lymon, a Lee County resident who survived storm. "I've never seen anything like that before."

Lymon stayed for Hurricane Ian as it came ashore just shy of a Category 5 storm. Next time, he says he'll be heading out on the highway if the storm is any more powerful. 

Apartments in the area have been gutted, and now neighbors wait for the trash and debris to be picked up. But for many people like Lymon, it's the little things people can take for granted — like power, water, internet service and even toiletries — that mean so much now.

"I don't want water, I don't want food, I just need that deodorant," Lymon said.

However, the survival pain is evident right outside his door, with decades of memories now piled up. 

"You've got to laugh to keep from crying," Lymon said.

Pastor Patricia Castillo and her husband José Garcia-Castillio are used to this reaction. They hand out care packages and travel the county going door-to-door to help people who have endured some of the worst days of their lives.

"My reward is thank you; that's my greatest reward," Castillo said.

"Wherever the disasters are, we go, and that's what were doing right now," Garcia-Castillo said.

While internet service is still hit or miss in many of the disaster areas, with some areas not expected to get back online until November, the communities are getting help getting other things they've lost.

One local Florida-based furniture store loaded up air boats and pushed off into some of the hardest-hit areas of Florida to give away generators. The owners say it was their way to give back to the communities that supported their businesses for years.

The non-profit Habitat for Humanity's local chapter in Orlando is also jumping in to provide a little help. Their bucket brigade is gathering cleaning supplies to hand out to residents.