|Forgotten Again - Part 1
The news is all a buzz with information about the latest hurricane, Wilma, and its destructiveness. It wreaked havoc in so many areas of multiple countries. Prior to this there was Hurricane Katrina who again left a lovely path of destruction through many areas. It seems there is no end to the number of destructive storms in 2005, but lets not forget 2004 with its bit of wind and rain as well. Hurricanes galore swept through the US and other countries, bringing with them billions of dollars in damage and many lost lives. Yes there has been a lot of news coverage about these storms over the last two years, but wait! Something is missing!
Now you may be reading this and going how can something be missing. They talk constantly about the storms before, during and after they happen. All over the world in fact. OK, each area make do their own take on it, trying to boost their ratings or circulation, but everyone seems to be covering what is going on. Or are they?
Now granted every year there are storms that strike all over the planet causing massive devastation and many of them do not get the coverage they deserve. They become blips on the screen, or small mentions in a weather section of a newspaper, never to be thought of or mentioned again, except by those that were affected by it of course.
This is even more common here in the states. Especially if it is something that strikes outside the countries borders. Global consideration and compassion can be quite lacking in this country, at least on political, government and corporate levels. There are also those people who are not aware enough to look past what they are told and therefore don't pay attention either. However, I do not believe them to be the majority and for their actions I apologize. That, however, is not the reason for this article, although it might make a really good one.
I could also go on about the storms that rip through different little towns, counties, states and lives every year, leaving behind anger, fear, determination, loss, need, and usually a lack of understanding from the rest of the world, who did not hear about their situation. This again would make a great story, but I have a focus here, and yes I am about to get to it.
All these things are true. They happen and are sad, yet they only happen, in most cases, one time. They may even happen 2 or 3 times over a long period, but this is nothing new. There is, however, an area of this country that in the last few years has gotten hit multiple time by tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes, yet when it comes time to talk about what happens to the area, it seems to always get lost in the background noise of someone talking about another area. All the devastation, pain, suffering, loss and need get lost behind the pushy self serving media outlets, be it newspapers, television, radio, etc., who seem to find it so easy to gloss over, so it gets forgotten, what happens to this area.
Now some of you are probably going, what are you talking about or would you just get to the point. I am I am, but you must know what is happening on the glossy media covered areas before you can know what is going one behind the curtain.
This area has been ravaged over and over again by a multitude of storms that either hit it head on, came through after hitting another area or side swiped the area with heavy winds and rain. Yet this little area of the country goes un recognized because it isn't a major city, a major area that they can drag lots of gripping news out of. Even the most recent storms national coverage proves this is the case. Why you say? The reason, the coverage was massive about the storm itself, sure, but not about the area where it went, just like every other time. The area focused on during and after, by the media, the larger city that was hit later and with lesser effects.
You saw with Katrina how they left out all the towns and places that were also ravaged and ripped apart, in favor of coverage of what went on in New Orleans. Yet all those little places were harmed, and in some ways harmed worse. If you do the math that is. A little town of 500 that is destroyed my seem small in comparison to a city of thousands getting harmed, but then again does it really? That little town is 100% damaged and devastated. Yet that big city is what? Perhaps 60 to 80% damaged? I don't know about you, but in my book that is much better odds.
Yes what happened in New Orleans was horrific. My heart goes out to every person it touched and their families. However that is no reason to ignore all the others impacted by that storm, the storms before it or the storms that have come since.
Ok, ok, I have dragged this on and on. Keeping you in the dark, that
is if you haven't figured it out already, where I am actually referring to. Where is it you ask? South West Florida! All the cities towns that non one has heard of, unless they have been there or know someone who has. What places am I talking about?
Places like ... North Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Port Charlotte, Naples, Englewood, Matlachea, Pine Island, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Bonita Beach, Vanderbilt Beach, Boca Grande, Grove City, Estero, St. James City, Bokeelia, Punta Rassa, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, Venice, Bonita Springs, Marco, Goodland, Alva, Cleveland, Bayshore, Tice, Olga, Golden Gate, Everglades City, Royal Palm Hammock, Copeland, Ochopee, Myakka, Gulf Cove and Captiva,. Just to name a few.
And that isn't even mentioning towns father into the state. These are just the ones near the coast. There are dozens of towns just a little farther inland (Remember Florida is not a very wide state). They get slammed when the storms hit the coasts, but you don't hear about them either. All these places seem to get lost behind the stories of storms that, although they ripped through or harmed these areas, are ignored in the rush to list only certain stories about certain places.
A huge hurricane just ripped through this area, Hurricane Wilma, yet it isn't us you see covered on the news. It is Miami, who got hit after us and got less destruction. Why? Because that seems to be what happens when storms come through here. We get ignored.
In the last few years there have been many storms that have come through, or near south west Florida, leaving behind damage. Yet you don't see them doing all the lovely send them help messages for us. No they leave us, other than the little that the government and some agencies actually send, to fend for ourselves.
This has to stop. It is time people actually knew what goes on down here. How much devastation there is and has been.
Example, last year one of the years major hurricanes, Hurricane Charley, came through this area, causing all kinds of damage. The eye came ashore not 20 miles north for where I was living at the time. Twenty miles for a hurricane is nothing. The damage was horrific where I was, so I know it was 100 times worse where it the eye came ashore.
Not long after the hurricane passed, many organizations that send help started to show up to give what relief they could to the people of the area.
Do note, however, that we still didn't get major news coverage over this storm.
Shortly after, less than 2 weeks, storms hit other parts of the Florida and a few neighboring states as well. Right before they hit, the organizations that were giving us help left. This I can understand. They don't want to put their people and resources in harms way. This is reasonable. The problem is, they didn't come back. They forgot about us and moved on to help the other areas, before they even really did much of anything here.
Where does that leave those here? Who do they turn to and get their help from? Others in this same area who survived and could help, as usual. We were forgotten, if we were really even known about, again.
Did you know there have been 11 named storms (hurricanes and tropical storms) to come through and/or have an effect* on this south west Florida in the almost 8 years I have lived here.** Not to mention the storms that went by Florida on the Atlantic side of the state, but were so large that they had an effect here as well as there. And this years hurricane season is not actually even over yet. No one expects there to be more storms, but then again, no one expected this many hurricanes this year period.
Did you also know that Hurricane Katrina hit the Florida keys, or that it caused wind, rain and other damage in the south west of Florida? More than likely you didn't. The news didn't really mention the places hit before New Orleans, just like they didn't mention the places hit after or with New Orleans either.
It is this information, or should I say lack of it, that has me disgusted with the media and all the so called helpful organizations who seem to forget us every time a storm comes by.
But wait... there is more.... continued in Part 2
About the Author
Thank you for reading my article.
If you found it interesting, please share it with others.
ASerenePath@aol.com (no spam, solicitations or junk mail. Thanks)
A little bit about me... I am a happily divorced mother of two intelligent, strange, unique and beautiful daughters. A resident of the South West Florida coast. The owner (or staff if you ask them) of two fun loving cats. And a Practitioner of Random Acts of Kindness.