Aftermath of Hurricane Charley - November 2004


Several members of the Charlottesville CERT program volunteered to go down to Florida to help with disaster recovery after Hurricane Charley had struck.  The photographs and textural commentary provided below are from Susan Buckley, one of the CERT volunteers who spent time helping in Florida.

"The Debris pictures are from Port Charlotte or Punta Gorda area in Florida. They are the result of destruction from Hurricane Charley which took months just to clear the debris. Hurricane Charly hit in the middle of August 2004 and I arrived in the middle of November."

            (The photos below are thumbnails - click on them to bring up the full size photo.)


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Florida and local jurisdictions had their hands full trying to remove all of the debris generated by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Debris caused flat tires, motor vehicle accidents, falling injuries and lacerations to CERT members and other FEMA employees. Other hazards included: Snakes, sunstroke or heat exhaustion, dog bites, and filthy standing water. FEMA passed out anti-bacterial hand cleaner and first aid kits. Each injury had to be reported to FEMA's Safety Department. 


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One of the most dramatic photos I was able to take, showing the collapse of the roof of the Punta Gorda Domino's Pizza. I was unable to get very close, as there was fencing around it. 


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This is only one of many manufactured homes that did not fare well when hit by Hurricane Charley. It was tied down, of course, so it didn't blow away, but there is nothing left of the roof. It would have been deadly to try to "ride out" a storm in this structure. 


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I was amazed by the rows and rows of manufactured homes brought in for the residents who were homeless after Hurricane Charley. This park was functional but there was no place for kids to play. People who needed to move into the park were thoroughly screened and instructed that this was a temporary place to live. There were very few rental resources in the Port Charlotte area because most of the public housing was older and destroyed. One of my jobs upon arrival in Port Charlotte was to locate rental resources. After a week making phone call after phone call, I only came up with a handful of expensive vacation homes or town-homes. Upon talking with a few people, I discovered that some people were also trying to rent damaged homes.