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Irma Help, Reporting Concerns, Relief Efforts

It is fantastic to see how Americans are coming together at a time when a divided picture has been developed by the mainstream media.

Photo credit: Lauren Torres

There are a lot of people still needing help in the wake of Irma. Groups are helping displaced homeowners, people are cleaning, rebuilding and there's a long road to recovery ahead. It is fantastic to see how Americans are coming together whether donating money or time in Texas and Florida at a time when a divided picture has been developed by the mainstream media. The USA is united and strong. Here's a collection on news and stories to give you an idea of how organizations are dealing with recovery efforts and ideas that might help you find a way to help another neighbor out!

“At Captains for Clean Water we aim to restore the Everglades and get flows corrected, but the last couple weeks, our team of volunteers has taken 16,000 pounds of much needed supplies to Texas and we saw the Harvey damage first hand,” said Daniel Andrews, co-founder at Captains for Clean Water. “While we were in Texas, Irma took form and began threatening Florida so after seeing how our efforts helped in Texas, we knew we had to head home and take care of our neighbors here in Florida.

“Yesterday we delivered five pallets of water and we saw the damage first hand around Everglades City and we know our friends in the Keys are suffering,” added Andrews. “Based basics like water, food and clothing, you have to understand what these folks are up against as they clean what's left of their homes. Rubber boots are high on the desired items to help as these people are cleaning with bleach and other cleaning solutions and they are barefoot, exposed to the harsh chemicals. Footwear, boots, anything would help but rubber boots are best.”

At this point, Daniel and his team are also trying to get their own homes in order, but plans a new run to the keys to bring more items to the victims of Irma.

“It's amazing how much area these hurricanes affected,” said Andrews. “The flooding in Texas was unbelievable and the miles Irma covered from the devastation in the Keys and in the Caribbean to flooding in states to the north. It's been amazing to see how much we can accomplish with our team of volunteers as well.

“The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) asks residents to report waterway debris and abandoned vessels at,” says Joe Nolin Project Manager with the Volusia County Coastal Division and Ponce de Leon Inlet Port District. “The DEP has resources and contractors available for waterway debris removal but is in need of direction on how to best place the resources based on the local needs and field conditions.”

Photo credit: Lauren Torres

Users can enter various types of debris, ranging from vessels to appliances. Address, county and contact information are required fields, according to Nolin. A report from the data entered will be used to mobilize DEP resources for debris removal response. The faster and more reported the quicker the state will respond and mobilize a contractor for waterway debris and derelict vessel removal.

Please report all debris as soon as you can at the above website and share this link and information among boating friends, businesses and associations.

The National Park Service Eastern Incident Management Team is now operating in South Florida, coordinating the bureau's response to parks impacted by Hurricane Irma. Immediate objectives are to support employee emergency needs, conduct damage assessments, and remove debris in the affected areas. The team has relocated its response operation to South Florida, putting its response and recovery efforts in closer proximity to the affected parks. So far, 107 National Park Service employees from outside the impacted areas are working in the parks or en route, with additional resources expected to be ordered in the coming days.

Employee accountability and care is the primary concern of the National Park Service. Employees at all national parks have been accounted for, with the exception of Everglades National Park, where power and communication outages are making contact with some employees difficult. All but a handful of Everglades' more than 300 employees have been accounted for.

“With Hurricane Irma now behind us, we're all moving forward and working together to rebuild our homes and communities,” said Coastal Conservation Association of Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski. “It's been inspiring to see so many stories from around the state of neighbors helping neighbors, and first responders working without rest to bring us back to some sense of normalcy.

“Our wish for you is that you'll continue to help one another, work together, and have patience during this time,” added Gorski. “We wish you all the best in your road to recovery, and look forward to a 'cheers' with you in the near future.”

Every community in the state appears to need help in one way or another, and we can all engage at a local level to give of our time, talents or gifts. Our partners at Contender Boats and Islamorada Beer Company are working to bring supplies and donations to areas of south Florida and the Keys. Visit the CCAFL Facebook page for more details if you are interested in donating.

The amazing team at Tito's Handmade Vodka have increased their matching gift through the Red Cross. Donate today and they're matching dollar for dollar up to $125,000. They're also managing the logistics of an Amazon Registry of supplies to provide to those most affected, and even the smallest donation of baby products or essentials through the registry will help in a big way.

The team at IBEX thanked the marine industry who supported our decision to move forward with IBEX as planned. The decision was not made lightly. They have been following the devastation in Florida from Hurricane Irma and are very aware of the impact the storm has had, and will continue to have, on the marine industry as a whole.

The Ibex Team is hopeful that bringing the industry together so soon after this hurricane will begin many critical conversations and partnerships on offering assistance, and devising ways to help fellow marine industry professionals in the areas hardest hit by Irma.

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