Indian Americans in Florida open doors for hurricane Irma evacuees

People wait outside the Germain Arena to take shelter from Hurricane Irma in Estero, Florida, just south of Fort Myers. Photo: Bryan Woolston/Reuters

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — With Hurricane Irma beginning its destructive path into Southern Florida, the Indian-American community has opened up its doors for evacuees.

Having hit the Florida Keys with wind gusts upwards of 130MPH, the hurricane has displaced millions, with people fleeing the path of the storm. As the hurricane reaches further inland, Indian-Americans in surrounding areas are opening the doors of their homes, businesses and places of worship to provide shelter. Displaced evacuees have been housed in Indian-American homes, hotels, banquet halls and other makeshift shelters. The Consulate General of India’s Atlanta office led the efforts, tweeting and co-ordinating with community leaders

More than 400 homes in Orlando are ready to provide shelter to those evacuating. Sriram +1703-829-6064 can be contacted. – Twitter @CGIAtlanta 

SEWA International USA, one of the organizations helping in relief efforts provided shelters to more than 300 families in homes of its volunteers in and around Atlanta. It is estimated by SEWA that Indian-American community members have taken in at least 2,000 families. Consulate officials even visited the shelters in Tampa & Florida to ensure the families were safe.

One of the major concerns is the storm surge. “What’s scary is the unbelievable storm surge potentially in my own town, 15-feet of storm surge above ground level. And we are talking about that and something with the keys. People have asked what can we do, the first thing I tell them is pray, pray for everybody in Florida,” Florida Governor Rick Scott stated to Fox News.

President Trump took time from speech at the Pentagon addressing the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks to address the pending gloom of the catastrophic hurricane: “These are storms of catastrophic severity and we are marshaling the full full resources of the federal government to help our fellow Americans in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and all of those wonderful places and states in harm’s way. When Americans are in in need, Americans pull together. And we our one country. And when we face hardship we emerge, closer, stronger and more determined than ever.”

According to the U.S. 2010 census, over 120,000 Indian-Americans live in Florida, and that figure is believed to have increased significantly in seven years. He largest concentration of Indian-Americans is in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, followed by Tampa Bay and Orlando.

It is estimated that 5.6 million people were ordered to evacuate and that more than 6.2 million people in Florida are without power. Scott stated that Irma would be “way bigger than Andrew,” the 1992 hurricane that was the most destructive to hit the state.

“It’s a worst-case scenario for Florida on the west coast,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long.

Thousands of homes in Florida were reported to have a power outage.

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