Yes, finally got some eyes on the ground there. The evacuees are still not allowed back in, but another homeowner in our small 6-house compound had a friend whose husband was allowed in to rebuild the hospital. He came by the property and wrote back this:
There is no obvious damage to the house, and even the landscaping is in good shape!
which is fantastic -- it's a little cryptic which house - probably his, but ours is more or less next to it. Here's the mayor's report from 3:00 p.m. yesterday. If you are interested in how hurricane recovery works on a small US island, it's fascinating. I imagine it's much more complicated in Atlanta, Houston, or a Caribbean Island.
3:00 p.m., Thursday, 9-14-17: .
UPDATE from Key West Mayor Cates 9-14
(posted by his daughter Tammy Cates Berard)
- About 20% of electric power is restored from Keys Energy.
- Water is turned on from 10am-1pm and again from 5pm-8pm. This is NOT potable water. It should only be used for flushing toilets and bathing with soap. The pressure is very low.
- Water, ice and food are coming and being given out at Searstown and the Bahama Village soccer field. The National Guard is helping with security.
- Gas stations are receiving fuel sporadically and when they receive it they open and sell it.
- Publix is opening today in Searstown to sell to the public.
- Strunk lumber is opening at different times to sell to the public.
- Home Depot is sending in engineers to inspect the building and determine when they can reopen.
- The debris removal companies have arrived to remove the tree debris and trash that is being put out. There is a staging area set up at Indigenous Park where they can dump the debris and then haul it out of the keys. Garbage removal will still be done by Waste Management.
- It is very hot and humid down here. Very uncomfortable. I know a lot of people want to return to inspect their property and start cleaning up. The problem is that it is not safe with the water situation. If someone gets sick there is not a complete functioning hospital to treat you. They have opened the hospital emergency room but it is not completely functional. They have engineers and staff there working to get it fully operational and it should be open in a few days.
- Also if you return and have a water leak or air conditioning problem there are no plumbers or repairmen here to fix anything and you may not have a place to stay.
There is also not enough available fuel in the keys yet to sustain more people and vehicles. When we have the infrastructure up and running - capable of handling residents then we will reopen. Please be patient.
- There have only been two reports of looting on the police scanner and the police were on scene quickly. They are doing a great job protecting our island.
I want to thank the City of Key West workers, directors and community service people. They are all doing an incredible job. I also want to thank Keys Energy and the Aqueduct Authority for the great job they are doing. I know some people do not think things are moving fast enough but it's moving extremely fast for the conditions.
Also, I know there are non-profits that want to help. Those organizations need to partner with a church or non-profit already established in the keys to sponsor them and set up the logistics. The City cannot do this. We are working with larger organizations like Red Cross, Salvation Army, FEMA, The National Guard, Navy and Army.
The Keys infrastructure is unique to other parts of the country - getting in and out and supporting more people and vehicles is much more difficult.
Thank you for everyone's patience and for everyone's prayers, well wishes and positive thoughts sent our way. Things could have been so much worse. We also knew that there would be tremendous work to be done after the storm passed. I am so proud of our City and the people who are working tirelessly to restore our home.