Monday

Letter to the Editor...

From: Shannon O------@.com
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 11:17 AM
To: 'harpers-weekly@harpers.org'
Subject: missing news - wilma

I am shocked to say the least that the only information offered on the category 3 hurricane that slammed into the southeastern coast of Florida was a quick blurb 2 updates ago stating that “hurricane Wilma struck Florida and left millions without power”. As a 20 year resident of South Florida, I am not exaggerating when I say that Hurricane Wilma was the worst hurricane to hit our vast area (with extensive damage and power outages in 3 of the state’s largest counties – Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach). There is, in fact, more damage caused by this storm than by the category 5 Hurricane Andrew 13 years ago. Over 3 million people were left out of power immediately following the storm and a week later, over 700,000 are still powerless. Residents have waited in lines as long as 5 ½ hours to get as little as 5 gallons of gas. Grocery stores were left empty for over a week. Neighborhoods were left looking as if bombs had been dropped there with all trees having been twisted in half and uprooted, aluminum screening enclosures having been ripped off of houses and wrapped around cars and thrust through roofs and windows, and major roof damage being incurred to most homes. Children in Miami-Dade and Broward County are now entering a second week out of school. Small businesses are still shut down, with financial losses still to be seen. Several major department stores will be closed for the rest of the year due to damage, costing hundreds of people their jobs just prior to the holiday season. All of this, and I am not even mentioning the massive financial losses that the tourist industry (our most profitable industry in this area) is suffering and will continue to suffer for months to come.

I get the feeling that because the aftermath and images (or lack thereof) from this storm pale in comparison to that of Katrina (a truly horrific storm) that the plight of South Florida is not being deemed newsworthy. I assure you that it has had a major effect on the residents of South Florida. More news has been generated concerning Wilma’s affect in Mexico than the affect it had on our own US residents. I hope that in the future, regardless of the proximity to other major disasters, that a reasonable amount of reporting time will be granted to those found in similar plights.

Shannon O-------

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