September 2017 – Present / Lower Florida Keys
Hurricane Irma made Landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday, September 10th 2017, as a category 4 hurricane. Irma has been called the most intense hurricane to strike in a decade, following Hurricane Katrina in 2005; it was also the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic basin, with peak winds of 185 mph. The storm continued battering the key’s until Monday morning, before moving up the west-coast of Florida. Irma caused widespread flooding , severe wind-damage, 10 ft storm surges and numerous tornadoes across the state, destroying many homes and businesses. Irma’s death toll, within the state, now stands at 72.
ALL HANDS VOLUNTEERS AT WORK
Our team has established that the majority of the damage sustained happened in the direct strike area between Marathon Key and Key West and through our assessment process we have determined that this will be our primary work area. The keys we are primarily working in are Cudjoe, Summerland, Big Pine, Ramrod and Sugarloaf. In addition to this, our base is located in Big Pine Key. The need here is great and we have received numerous calls for assistance through our direct hotline number, mainly for vegetative debris removal and mold sanitations. Whilst roads are largely cleared, numerous trees have been downed and uprooted, many homes and small businesses have suffered severe storm-damage and debris is piled high on the side of the roads.
All Hands Volunteers has helped homeowners clear debris and cut trees away; we have had a team out in the field every day since then. Our teams have received 74 work requests, completed 43 assessments and 3 worksites, whilst starting another 2 sites.
OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
Norwegian Cruise Line has set a goal to raise a total of $2.5M for All Hands Volunteers. Norwegian will be fundraising $1.25M from their guests, employees and partners, then will match those donations with another $1.25. This funding has enabled us to commit to a long term partnership with Happy Hearts Fund to rebuild safe, resilient schools for children in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria for the next two years. David Campbell said, “As the single largest donation in our organization’s history, this funding could not have come at a more crucial time as we work to rebuild communities in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands after the destruction brought by recent natural disasters, Hurricanes Irma and Maria.” Thanks to Norwegian, we can get to work with our amazing partner, the Happy Hearts Fund, and together, put thousands of displaced children back in school.