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Residents of Sanibel hope for recovery after destruction by Hurricane Yang

SANIBEL ISLAND, FL – Crossing the dam from the mainland, visitors first accidentally notice of this cherished vacation spot on the Gulf Coast was often the Point Ybel Lighthouse, an iron tower built in 1884 at the tip of a 33-square-mile spit of ground surrounded by thick green mixture of palm trees and sea grapes. Find the lighthouse and you are in heaven.

barrier island was home up to 6,500 local residents, but during the winter it increased to 20,000 pensioners, tourists and other seasonal residents, many of them Midwesterners seeking escape from the cold climate. locals list famous visitors, from Denzel Washington to Johnny Depp, from Eric Clapton to former Vice President Mike Pence.

Shell collectors came to search the beaches of Sanibel, famous for their varied generosity. Bird watchers frequented it nature saves; golfers their resorts. They are built multi-million dollardollar mansions or purchased mobile homes and then communicated with businesses on Periwinkle Way, at The Sandbar, Tipsy Turtle and Jerry’s Foods.

Lighthouse survived Hurricane Yan, but the storm devastated a lot of rest of Sanibel. He tore homes and residential complexes separately, killing some residents. It flooded the periwinkle business mobile home parks, condominiums and resorts, knock out powerwater and stretch of dam filling streets with debris and sticky gray mud. Not one knows how how long will it take rebuild – many loops on Three Mile Bridge officials did not say they would be repaired at any time soon – or how ongoing damage will be dealt to the spirit of the barrier island.

Many living on the island was evacuated before the storm and was not allowed back. On Saturday, fire The department warned dissenters that Sunday was last the day they will be expelled from their homes to a makeshift ferry crossing at the Sanibel Boat Ramp. It was clear that some remained: they could be seen on bicycles in places with mobile phone reception, grocery store or to the beach for an impromptu bath.

At a briefing late Saturday night in Fort Myers Hotel, temporary Sanibel Hotel city hall, city manager Dana Souza emphasized that the island has not yet become safe for Sanibelians.

“Sanibel remains under a 24/7 curfew, and we ask people not to go to the island,” said Sousa, urging on evacuate the island note that about a hundred left Saturday. “We are not want people stay on island. We know that you really want to do it, but it’s still a dangerous situation out there.”

He said there had been four fatalities so far, but the search and rescue work was still going on and National Guard troops were expected to arrive Sunday. On Saturday, the police escorted several people off the island after they were caught stealing property, he said.

Souza and Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith faced barrier of questions from homeowners business owners, tenants and seasonal residents about how they could rebuild remote, many of which depended on restoration of the earth bridge, which one the man called the island “the umbilical cord”.

“What do you foresee as the time for life on island again, with dam supporting life on island?” the woman asked.

The exhausted inhabitants of Sanibel Island have arrived in Fort Myers, Florida on September 30 and tried to contact family participants mourning the loss of favorites. (Video: Reshma Kirpalani/The Washington Post)

Kyle Sweet, 51, alive on on the east end, but works west as superintendent of The Sanctuary Golf Club. Passing the boat ramp on Saturday, he said the West End power lines and poles far away more damage, and will likely take several months to repair.

“This area get well soon, and the periwinkle in the city center area,” he said.

Near the damaged dam, volunteers operated ferries and small groups of the inhabitants formed at the boat ramp, the island new hot spot. It was one of several areas on Sanibel with decent cell service.

“They all great friends. I don’t know who will stay or go, said Captain Paul Primot, sitting down with one group.

Primo runs Sanibel & Captiva Fishing Charters was the island institution. for 20 years. Neighbors are waiting with near the pier listened to him took stock of what sights of Sanibel survived the storm.

“Lazy Flamingo”, “Drunken Turtle” and other restaurants “Periwinkle” were broken. Jerry survived. he was not sure about George and Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille.

“The Shalimar Hotel was clean and tidy,” Primo said. face gloomy. Beachfront Cottages: Wiped Down.

“Done. I’m at ground level,” he said, adding: “Dirty duck survived”.

Bob Butterfield chuckled. Butterfield, 38, worked as a waiter and bartender in a restaurant. restaurant. Others would rebuild he was too sure. But that didn’t mean they would actually restore Sanibel.

“It will be strange to see everything new. It will ruin the view of the old island,” said Butterfield.

Neighbor Robin Roberts, 39, was a bartender at The Island Cow until he was caught. fire in August. Before the owner could rebuild, a hurricane struck.

“His just destroyed now,” she said.

Roberts worked more recently at Cips Place, she said, but when she visited after the storm, “it looked pretty bad, too.”

Bailey’s Grocery Store and Deli survivedsaid June Bailey, 84, whose family built Sanibel in 1800s, including general store which became Bailey’s property and is still family-run.

On Saturday she saw off her grandson to the mainland on ferry until parents spent one more cleaning them day home. Dylan Stevens, 13, said he is in 7th grade at Sanibel Elementary but “I don’t think it’s going to work.”

Bailey, former leader secretary hosting is now evacuated family on her home in Fort Myers was not sure how how long will it take rebuild island. “I just I hope they recover fairly soon,” she said.

Much will depend on how fast officials rebuild bridge, lifeline to mainland Florida for residents of Sanibel and economy.

” big wild card for all are dams. Repairs will be slow,” Primo, charter, said. captain. And it will delay the supplies needed for rebuild everything else,” he said, “and the tourists we all rely on on”.

But even in commemoration of catastrophe, the island showed its habitual attraction: with so many work do, many were eager to leave.

Lorraine Regan, 57 years old gym teacher and mother of four from coastal New Jersey who retired this summer to Sanibel to live in her late grandmother ranch house. She bought an apartment at Seawind Apartments to rent out. out and that’s where it ended up weather the storm, safely on in second floor while her first floor flooded. The hurricane flooded her grandmother’s house. house with storm water, shaking the contents, leaving a cloudy flood line in inches from the ceiling and makes it uninhabitable for currently.

When search and rescue team stopped to check on The day after the hurricane, Regan told them that she was staying in her apartment, which structurally seemed sound. Later, a passing police officer urged her to leave. But she already began to wash dirty, flooded floors on in first story and slept upstairs. She filled the bath with water before the storm hit Wednesday, and I had enough food to last for days. Sometimes she went to the local fire station to get water and sandwiches.

“I only thought about if I could try to save this placeshe said, standing up in dirty living room. Before the storm, she rented the apartment to someone for three months starting in January. “But that won’t happen,” she said.

She missed her neighbors, most of all of who was evacuated before the storm, leaving their streets on East Gulf Drive eerily quiet even at noon.

“It’s pretty deserted in here,” Regan said, but she has an apartment and a Havapu. dogLola.

Her children live long away, in Chicago, Nashville and Washington DC Reagan said she knows shelters on mainland allow people bring pets with her, but she doesn’t feel safe going to one.

“I have already put my life in endanger once.” she said as she walked over verify on her late grandmother flooded house on Beach Road, now almost blocked by fallen trees and a lost boat.I do not do this again”.

September 30 Project DYNAMO, veteran volunteer group who saves civilians, went to Sanibel Island to search for for and save the survivors of Hurricane Jan. (Video: Reshma Kirpalani, James Cornsilk/The Washington Post)

Down Beach Road, where a muddy footpath connects it to Bailey Road, longtime residents Flor and Mario Cruz toured their blue and white rental cottage before evacuating. They pointed to the roof that had been torn off off Jan how did they hide in neighbor’s milliondollar elevated home through street.

natives of Yucatan, Mexico, Cruz lived on island for 20 years. Mario Cruz, 60, worked as a chef at the Bubble Room. restaurant on near Captiva Island. He was wearing his black work Shirt, one of the few things he was able to save.

“We threw away almost everything,” he said.

They planned to stay at the orphanage on mainland. When Policeman Sanibel Arrived with search and rescue team in pickup truck To take the couple to the evacuation ferry, Flor Cruz, 57, joked, “Where am I going, Disneyland?”

“I like your spirit,” the officer said.

What should I do, cry? said Mario Cruz, smiling sadly.

“I knowthe officer said. leading them to truck”Let you off this island.”

The barge was expected arrive carry out construction this weekend, fire and the police equipment to the island city manager Souza said. Once structural safety team arrives Monday and completes inspections, starting from the eastern tip of the island, residents in these areas will be allowed to return for one day visits via barge or boats city organized with space for According to him, 40 passengers.

Islands main roads have been cleared city crews, along with about 80 percent of roads on Sanibel more densely populated eastern region, home to main business district. But crews only have restored enough water to supply first defendants and city Hall. More than half of sewage pumping stations were damaged by salt water and this was not clear how soon power will be back, Souza said.

Search and rescue teams combed through the wreckage of mobile homes in Periwinkle Park and campsite on Saturday, but found no opponents. Ferries ran all day, but some residents wanted to remain in Sanibel, even when they were preparing for board boat.

“It was awful to leave,” said Susan Vener, a retired registered nurse. who lived on Sanibel for 25 years in elevated house what survived storm. “You look inside my house and he is completely whole.

But step outside and Sanibel, whom she loved, was a disaster area.

“I have two hot tubs in my entrance; I don’t know whose are they,” said Vener, 74, waiting with her husband is an internist at the local Veterans Administration hospital, and their Hawaiian Charlie.

As soon as the ferry arrived in Fort Myers, a friend from St. Petersburg will drop them off, but Vener won’t sure if they had stayed there.

“Naples is closer, but I don’t know: we are walking back? she asked.

Janice Gregg shared the same concern as she sat next to her. with her husband Jim.

“I want stay here, but he wants me to go to his son’s in Sarasota,” Gregg, 76, said. who retired at Sanibel after career work for newspapers and local Fox News affiliate in Northern California and Nevada. Her husband was 81 years old in in real property business and bought house on Sanibel in 1970s. So that’s where they settled with their pets and vintage cars eventually in three-story elevated home. while their first floor The garage flooded, the cars broke down, Gregg said. house fortunately not flood and she couldn’t leave him.

She called her stepson who It was assumed that pick them up at the other end of ferry in Fort Myers.

“You sure can you do that?” she asked.

Somebody in crowd of about a dozen residents shouted “Here’s a boat!”

“We go”, her husband said.

Gregg tried reason with his. The island was home. She doesn’t want let the hurricane make itself known.

“I am really want stay,” she pleaded. “Please, please, let me stay. you can come back in few weeks. I want to be a survivor.”

Her husband went to the boat. Gregg followed her, grumbling that she might try to get on the ferry. back. But she let her husband lead her on board, not knowing when she will see her island home again.

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Tyler Hromadka
Tyler Hromadka
Tyler is working as the Author at World Weekly News. He has a love for writing and have been writing for a few years now as a free-lancer.

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