Hurricane Irma: Indians Come to the Rescue of Others in Florida
Despite evacuation warnings by the government, many Indian-Americans stay back in Florida to help others.
Many Indian-Americans who own hotels in Florida have decided to stay back and help others despite the US calling for a mandatory evacuation before Hurricane Irma’s landfall.
The Indian hotel owners have opened up their properties for people in need, AFP reported. Many temples and community places, and non-profit organisations like Sewa have also come forward to prepare food and provide other necessary assistance to people effected by the storm.
Indian missions on Sept. 10 also evacuated a large group of the diaspora and issued helpline numbers as the Hurricane Irma, with windspeeds of over 130kmph, battered Florida.
The hurricane has left three million people without power. Three people died in Florida car crashes while 25 others lost their lives in Caribbean. The storm also hit Tampa’s retirement homes.
Efforts were on to evacuate about 60 Indian nationals from St Martin in the Caribbean, which is a vacation island that has been devastated by Irma, according to PTI.
“We have put the shutters, made all the precautions for any onslaught of the hurricane, because we have gone through these types of hurricanes every two years, so we know how to prepare,” Vivek Swaroop, who has his own consultancy business in Fort Lauderdale area of Florida, told AFP.
The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area of Florida is the worst affected area. It has an Indian-American population of more than 40,000 and expects a landfall on Sept. 11.
“Most of the Indian Americans that I know of, have barricaded their houses with shutters and essentials. Some of them who live on the East Side, which is near the ocean, have vacated,” Swaroop told the news agency.
In this grave situation many Indian-American hoteliers in Florida have opened their hotels for others to take shelter in, and are even using the banquet halls to provide refuge to the ones who had to leave their homes.
Florida has more than 128,000 Indian-Americans as per the 2010 census.
Sandeep Chakravorty, India’s consul-general in New York, said they have set up a 24×7 control room in Atlanta to oversee relief efforts. “Atlanta is fully prepared to take care of evacuees from Florida. Some have already reached. Consulate is on call 24×7,” he told the media.