One of the hardest challenges in Florida amid the aftermath of Hurricane Ian is finding clean drinking water. Hurricane Ian crossed the Florida peninsula and wrecked homes and businesses along the Gulf coast. The hurricane left tree limbs and debris scattered.

While communities are working to rebuild and assess the damage, the effect of the hurricane on the water systems is becoming easier to see. The loss of electricity is also hard for the state as that electricity is needed to keep the water flowing. Water lines were also damaged by the storm.

Source: CBS News/YouTube

The state’s list of boil-water advisories was updated, and as of Friday, there were 50 new advisories in effect.

“As far as I’m aware, every single case is related to the hurricane,” Jae Williams, a Health Department spokesman, said.

The New York Times reported that in many of the hardest hit places in Florida, the water is not coming out of the taps. Owners that had water but no power also have not been able to boil their water, leaving them without safe drinking water.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent 1.6 million liters of water to Florida and said that another 6.6 million liters would be on the way. Water has been the main priority, along with getting food, including 5.5 million meals, and sending over 400 ambulances and four aircraft to evacuate medically vulnerable people.

Source: KVUE/YouTube

One of the areas hit hardest was Lee County, where the water system was damaged badly and affected the population of nearly 760,000 residents.  Hospitals have also been greatly affected by the water crisis. Three hospitals in Lee County were left without water and they were forced to evacuate some patients.

“The public water system has had breaks, and the hospitals are not getting access to water, or the water pressure is completely inadequate,” said Mary Mayhew, president and chief executive of the Florida Hospital Association.

The hospital was able to set up water tanks at the hospital that can bring 20,000 gallons of water five times a day to each of the hospitals.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a news conference that the state’s water problems are among the most pressing and that it is critical to get that infrastructure back up and running.

How You Can Donate and Help:

A woman-led nonprofit Taller Salud is coordinating hurricane relief efforts and accepting donations from anything from nonperishable food, adult and baby diapers, gallons of water, toiletries, and more.

Nonprofit Global Giving has launched the “Hurricane Fiona Relief Fund,” and they aim to raise $1 million to help residents.

Puerto Rican mutual-aid group is asking for donations to get essentials for residents, like first-aid kits, water filters, solar lamps, and water purification tablets.

Nonprofit Hispanic Federation is on the ground in Puerto Rico, giving emergency relief services and essential supplies.

The American Red Cross sent hundreds of volunteers to Florida to help with the storm and is seeking donations to help with their ongoing efforts.

Atlanta-based nonprofit Caring for Others helping address poverty caused by natural disasters and is working to transport relief supplies to Florida. They are asking for donations to keep supplies going to those in need.

The Florida Association of Community Health Partners (FACHP) is distributing medical supplies to those in need and making sure that patients can get the resources that they need in times of emergency. Learn how to donate here on their website.

Learn more about how Puerto Rico is being affected by Hurricane Fiona and how organizations are helping rescue animals impacted by the hurricane.

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