Manatee County, Florida — Given the amount of damage left behind by Hurricane Ian’s aftermath, it could take months to remove and years to rebuild. Federal and state resources have rushed into southwestern Florida’s worst-hit counties, but some residents of the neighborhood between Hardy and Manatee counties feel overlooked. said.
The quiet countryside of Myakka City lies just south of the Mosaic Phosphate Mine known as Myakka Head.
“There are still many people who need help. Seniors have trees in their yards that they can’t afford to do and can’t pay to remove,” explained Myakka homeowner Pamela Boyd.
Boyd drove a 45-minute drive to the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, now the closest in Bradenton, for help.
“I have an 82-year-old woman, she has cancer, and I’ve known her for a while, and now it’s overpowering her,” Boyd said. The roof is leaking, we have over 13 trees in the yard that we have to take out…and we can’t afford to pay to finish it all.”
Boyd said a FEMA representative gave a neighbor the number of a volunteer-based crisis hotline.
Boyd explained that many residents of Myakka were cut off when cell towers and internet services went down.
Stassy Olmos, an in-depth reporter for ABC Action News, ran out of her home off State Route 64 and Duet Road to meet homeowner Garrett Lamy.
“There was no communication here. Sprint and T Mobile are still down,” Ramy said.
He still has trees and power lines in his yard.
“There is damage to the roof of the house and damage to the barn,” Lamy said. “We are looking at about $100,000 in property damage and about $20,000 in personal property loss.
Lamy’s insurance company tarps his house and barn roof, but he said many residents are retired and cannot afford the insurance.
“My neighbor here… Look, he, he lost a lot. His roof is also leaking. He does not have homeowners insurance. As you know, his income is very limited,” he explained.
He added that there were questions left unanswered at the county’s community meeting in early November.
“for example, The Army Corps of Engineers roof program was not available,” Lamy said. “Also, the governor’s … $5 million program that was supposed to help homeowners get exempt from insurance deductibles wasn’t available in Manatee County.”
In addition to the damage, Manatee County notified Myakka residents on October 13 that it found that “a significant number of private wells in the area have been contaminated by floodwaters.”
They set up free water, showers and laundry at the Myakka Community Center and also provided free water testing through the Manatee Health Department.
Boyd said the whole thing is taking a toll on the mental health of residents.
““They need volunteers and crew members who have some help to help people,” said Boyd. increase.
Olmos We reached out to agencies involved in disaster response, from FEMA to the Governor’s Office, to ask what was being done for Manatee residents who still needed help.
The governor’s office has sought contact information for the residents we spoke with so they can get in touch and find out what their exact needs are.
When asked about financial insurance deductible assistance available in certain counties, the governor’s office did not respond, but in the initial release announcing the funding, Governor Ron DeSantis said it was “the hardest hit.” It was found that it was for Ian’s victims who lived in “the counties of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardy, Lee, and Sarasota.”
A Manatee County spokesperson said FEMA had been at the Myrkka Community Center for several weeks, but residents should visit the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Brandenton’s John Marble Park, the same place Boyd and his neighbors frequented. Stated.
FEMA’s external relations are based on what Manatee residents call the Personal Assistance Program, which provides rental assistance and housing for displaced people, and a program to make their homes “safe, hygienic, and functional.” He said he was qualified to provide funding.
FEMA funds the Army. Free tarp for roofs after natural disasters and select eligible counties as required by state emergency management. According to a FEMA spokesperson, the criteria include the number of structures and the number of buildings that “can be habitable with the blue roof program.”
We also spoke with Kevin Guthrie, director of Florida’s Emergency Management Division (FDEM). He explained that the manatee may be turned over to a volunteer organization because he is not in a county eligible for private property debris removal assistance by FEMA.
“Your best option at this time is to contact your insurance company. If your insurance company doesn’t cover it, contact your local emergency management agency so they can work with local nonprofits in Manatee County and possibly your area to help you. .
For Southwest Florida residents who still need to pick up debris, the FDEM is still pending.
“We’re not looking for government subsidies…but what we’re looking for is approval,” Ramy exclaimed.
The latest well test from the Manatee Department of Health, obtained on November 14, shows 553 mapped wells tested.
- 353 is satisfied
- 156 people are not satisfied
- 44 are still contaminated
As the wells are privately owned, it is the responsibility of each resident to clean and disinfect the wells after flooding.
We asked Manatee County Information Outreach Manager Bill Logan and Manatee DOH what they’re finding in the water.
In an email, Logan said, “When wells are flooded, floodwaters enter the wells and can cause bacterial contamination. Bacterially contaminated wells can cause digestive disorders such as diarrhea and vomiting when the water is consumed.” It can also lead to infection of open wounds used for bathing and showering.The only way to be sure the water is safe is to test it for coliforms, Testing for coliforms FDOH- Manatee provides residents with sterile sample bottles and instructions on how to take samples from wells Residents send to state-accredited labs for analysis We have established a collection point to bring samples in. Once the lab has completed the analysis, we will provide the results to the residents.Well, the results that no bacteria are present are bacteriologically safe.”
I asked if chemicals from the phosphate mines near Mosaic were of concern.
“No. The investigation is for bacteriological contamination,” Logan clarified.
The only public notice of contamination reports from Hurricane Ian from Mosaic on the Florida Environmental Protection Agency website is a September 30, 2022 submission from Four Corners Mine.
“Continuous stormwater discharge from the facility’s Stormwater BMP was discovered during post-storm investigations as a result of excessive rainfall and regional scale flooding during and after Hurricane Ian. Due to the ongoing flooding, access to the site remains restricted.”
The Florida Emergency Management Agency also said it would send experts to test about 200 private wells, but the mission was delayed because of Hurricane Nicole.
To contact the Manatee County Emergency Management Office, call (941) 749-3500 or email email@example.com.
The Myakka City Community Center is located at 10060 Wauchula Rd in Myakka City. The facility will be open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm until the well is safe for use.