Florida's response is not Ideal

by Colleen Cullen | 10/31/05 6:00am

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Iden Sinai's article addressing hurricane response in Florida ("What Florida Can Teach Us," Oct. 27).

I have been living in the Fort Lauderdale area for the last two years while I attend graduate school. I was fortunate enough to have both gas, and a place to go, so I was able to leave the chaos in South Florida a few days after the storm.

I greatly appreciate the fact that this article addressed Hurricane Wilma because it is one of the few articles I have found addressing this devastating natural disaster. However, I feel the need to call attention to the fact that South Florida is not in the middle of a prompt and effective response, as the article suggests. Over five million people are without power in South Florida and the region won't have power fully restored until November 22nd, at the earliest. I know that FP&L, our power company, is working around the clock, but I don't think a month without power represents an effective and efficient response. People are waiting in lines for ten and twelve hours to receive a bag of ice and three bottles of water. At last check there were only two gas stations open in all of Broward County. The boil-water mandate for the whole county has yet to be lifted.

I agree that Floridians are facing this disaster with as much grace and patience as they can. Perhaps, as Iden Sinai suggests, it is this orderly behavior that is keeping us, and this difficult situation, out of the national eye. I know and appreciate that public service employees are working without an end in sight. However, I do not feel that a month without power, possibly weeks without gas and hours and hours of waiting for food and water are the best that we can do.

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