After Hurricane Idalia, a Heartbreaking Road to Recovery

Americans in parts of Florida and the Southeast are working to rebuild their lives after the devastation of Hurricane Idalia. Power outages and storm surge remain an issue two days after the passing of the devastating Category 3 storm.

Austin ”Buddy” Ellison lost his family’s shrimp farm in Horseshoe Beach, Florida. He said, “It was heartbreaking. I shed many tears, and thank God nobody died.”

Also, in Horseshoe Beach, a daughter embraced and comforted her mother as they assessed the damages to their home.   

”What matters is what I’m holding right here. It’s just material stuff,” the daughter explained. 

Her mother responded, ”I know, but this was our retirement, our own life. 23 years.”

The daughter assured the mother, ”We’re going to rebuild. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be fine.”

Pickup trucks and debris lie strewn in a canal in Horseshoe Beach, Fla., after the passage of Hurricane Idalia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Storm surge as high as seven feet or more remain a problem in some areas as residents wait for flood waters to recede.

In Whiteville, North Carolina, hair salon owner Kareesa Pridgen had to be rescued from her business when the waters came in. “I started crying. I’ve been there three years, but I had no idea it was going to be this bad,” she explained. “I worked till about 7 last night and wasn’t really prepared for a flood like this.”

Florida business owner Aimee Firestine requested help for the residents in Cedar Key. “Some of the residents have lost their homes. People have lost their businesses, their livelihood,” Firestine explained. “We need a little bit of help, and it’s going to take a little bit of time to rebuild. But we’ll rebuild.”

President Biden is set to travel to Florida on Saturday to assess damage there. 

Governor Ron DeSantis says so far, power has been restored to more than 400,000 Florida homes and businesses.

Unlike last year’s Hurricane Ian, this hurricane hit a less densely populated area- but still caused an estimated $9 billion in damages.

“There was definitely a lot of destruction, but it was so much debris and so much woods,” DeSantis said. “And that’s just going to require a lot to be able to clean all that up.”

Meanwhile, CBN’s Operation Blessing has arrived in the region, finding that they had to maneuver around road debris and blockages. 

“People are blocked in their neighborhoods. People are blocked in other parts of Georgia and Florida,” explained OB staffer Steffany Horton. “So, currently, we will be trying to get past road closures and road blockages to get to the hardest hit areas.” 

This weekend, OB volunteers will begin cleanup efforts, and lunchtime meals will be served to the community in Homosassa, Florida.

Click here if you would like to help Operation Blessing’s disaster relief effort:

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