Americans helping Americans
On September 29 as Hurricane Ian left scenes of devastation and wreckage across many parts of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis thanked the 26 states that have dedicated help and support in advance of, or since the storm hit land, notable among them - Alabama.
Florida assessing the damage
While Hurricane Ian is reportedly weakening, over 2 million Floridians are now thought to be without electricity. Many more have been affected by the storm surge and associated flooding as well as torrential rains and high-speed winds that place the Hurricane in the Top-5 worst that the Sunshine State has ever faced.
While it has now been downgraded to a category 2 storm, it's not yet possible to assess the full impact of damage.
Help from state governors and the federal government
In advance of Hurricane Ian hitting land on the state's Gulf Coast, Governor of Texas Greg Abbott had mobilized a task force comprising of an urban search-and-rescue team of 45 personnel, 4 boats, and 2 canines. The team will be one of 28 teams deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Commenting on the announcement, Gov. Abbott had this to say:
"Texas is no stranger to hurricane disaster response efforts, and we recognize the urgency for additional resources in preparation of this Category 3 storm. We greatly appreciate the generosity of Floridians and aid the State of Florida has sent us during times of crisis in our state—and we are honored to do the same."
Hurricane Ian was eventually categorised as a Category 4 storm at its height.
Numerous states were called out in the DeSantis press conference, including Indiana, New York, Georgia and in particular Alabama and Tennessee.
Gov. DeSantis was keen to call-out that Governor Kay Ivey had reached out and offered a number of Blackhawk helicopters to assist in rescue and clear-up operations - something that will no doubt be welcome in the coming days.
Help from federal government also forthcoming
The Biden Administration has also responded in Florida's time of need. Federal resources were sent in response to a plea for help from Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida.
Confusingly, during a press briefing on September 27, President Biden appeared to conflate the threat of hurricanes with the threat posed by another wave of COVID-19 which is also spreading among the southern states where vaccine rates are amongst the lowest in the United States.
Biden had this to say in his September 27 briefing:
“If you are in a state where hurricanes often strike… a vital part of preparing for hurricane season is to get vaccinated now.”
As the clean-up operation begins in earnest, it seems most likely that Floridians will be concerned with getting back into their homes and repairing the damage rather than getting a vaccine dose. Hopefully with the assistance of resources from states like Alabama and the federal government the recovery effort will be as swift as it possibly can be.
Are you proud of Alabama's leadership for stepping up in Florida's time of need? Do you think that at such times of national crisis, politicians should be more inclined to abandon political agendas and to help each other out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.