Hurricane Irma

Tom Hudson

Hurricane Irma dealt a blow to the agriculture industry in South Florida. Local damage estimates are still being calculated, but initial figures put it at around $250 million in Miami-Dade County alone. It’s too early to tell what the price of the storm will be for Palm Beach County farmers. The sugarcane harvest begins this month and crop loss will become more apparent.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has co-signed a letter asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to send more support to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Health-care funding was already tight before the storms, particularly in financially unstable Puerto Rico, where nearly half the population is covered by Medicaid.

MARK HEDDEN / MARKHEDDEN.COM

The Florida Roundup tackles a big backlog in immigration court, the housing squeeze in the Keys after Irma and how the storm may have helped sea life but hurt those making a living from the sea. 

This week's guests on The Florida Roundup with host Tom Hudson: 

Nearly a month after Hurricane Irma washed 8-to-10 feet of storm surge onto Everglades City in southern Collier County, residents with damaged, unlivable homes are still waiting on emergency temporary housing. City officials estimate about 100 homes in the area are uninhabitable due to flood damage and mold. But officials say they expect relief within a week.

Video Screenshot

Earlier this year, two of Trinidad and Tobago's  soca superstars teamed up for the Carnival single “Buss Head,” and now they’re teaming up again in Miami —this time for a philanthropic cause.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Hundreds of anxious South Floridians swarmed the Port Everglades cruise terminal Tuesday morning to welcome a cruise ship transformed into a relief vessel: Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas.

Its storm-weary cargo:  nearly 4,000 evacuees from Puerto Rico and the U-S Virgin Islands fleeing the ravages of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

The ship represented a new start for some, reunification for others after the one-two punch of hurricanes smashed the Caribbean with devastating force last month, leaving millions without power, homes or jobs.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In some parts of the Keys, people are still salvaging what they can of their belongings, or figuring out where they will live.

In Key West, local and state leaders gathered Wednesday to send one message: they are open for business.

"Restaurants are open. Hotels are open. Every tourist in the country, in the world, needs to come back to Key West and the Florida Keys," said Gov. Rick Scott.

He spoke at an oceanfront hotel flanked by Key West officials and tourism promoters who were carrying conch shells and waving Conch Republic flags.

Kate Stein / WLRN

In the hours before Hurricane Irma came barreling towards Florida, Gloria Guity and her adult children went to five different shelters before they arrived at Miami Edison Senior High School.

“Here is better than where we were,” Guity, 76, said sitting at a cafeteria table. “Here I told them to put me next to the bathroom so at least I can take them to the bathroom.”

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

People who call the Florida Keys home will be in recovery mode indefinitely. Monroe County Mayor George Neugent says marketing and advertising campaigns are underway with sights sets on just trying to get back to normal. He says Keys officials expect to have issues with adequate housing for 18 months to two years.

On the upside, WLRN’s Nancy Klingener – a Key West resident – says tourists are back, with some hotels at full occupancy last weekend.

Hear more about the recovery efforts.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Laura Everette didn’t know what to do after Hurricane Irma knocked a tree onto her minivan.

Everette, 57, is a double amputee and she lives on a fixed income.

Tree removal and clean-up can be expensive with costs ranging from the hundreds to thousands of dollars. As homeowners and renters across South Florida continue to deal with the aftermath of Irma, that means figuring out what to do with toppled trees on private property.

Everette, a renter, tried calling her landlord but didn’t get a response.

AP

UPDATE: President Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday and possibly heightened rather than diffused tensions between him and the U.S. island territory. He quipped that Puerto Rico's hurricane disaster had "thrown our budget a little out of whack. We've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico." Then he suggested the storm had not been a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He also lauded Puerto Rico for its low hurricane death toll compared to Katrina.

Al Diaz/Miami Herald

This week's guests on The Florida Roundup with host Tom Hudson include: 

JULIO OCHOA / WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

The C130's four propeller engines scream as it lifts lifts off from MacDill Air Force base in Tampa. The plane is loaded with pallets of medical supplies bound for St. Croix, nine days after the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.

But the flight's true mission is getting patients in critical need of health care off the island and into hospitals in Columbia, South Carolina and Atlanta.

So far, hundreds of patients have been brought to those hospitals along with facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi.

12th Hollywood Hills Nursing Home Resident Dies

Sep 29, 2017
Charles Trainor, Jr. / Miami Herald

A 12th resident at the Hollywood nursing home where residents sweltered to death after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to its air conditioning has died, the Hollywood Police Department said.

 

Dolores Biamonte, 57, died Thursday night, bringing the death toll from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills to a dozen since its cooling system failed and several residents perished in the rising heat Sept. 13. Her brother Robert also confirmed the death Friday morning.

 

Teresa Frontado / WLRN

It's far from the most important thing you should worry about when preparing for a hurricane — but if you're a reader, you probably thought hard about what book(s) to bring to wherever you were riding out Hurricane Irma.

You're not only choosing what you might read in that time, you are potentially choosing what books you will save from all of those in your home.

Here's what some of WLRN's staffers chose. Share yours in the comments, or tweet us @wlrn.

Teresa Frontado, WLRN digital director

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