After Hurricane Ian, a low-lying Florida city starts to rebuild. Should it?
Hurricane Andrew, the Category 5 storm that hit Miami in September 1992, forever changed our understanding of hurricanes. It became the greatest and most destructive storm ever to strike the U.S. mainland. Millions of people were exposed to the winds and the storm surge while millions more were indirectly affected by the floodwaters. Andrew changed everything, but nothing was ever the same again.
The following year, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Mississippi. It was the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history and cost more than $100 billion. It was, in fact, the costliest and deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Katrina was a disaster of the political system, not an accident of nature.
The world changed forever when Hurricane Mitch hit St. Bernard Parish on the Gulf Coast in 2005. Mitch is the only hurricane in history to become the official hurricane of the Caribbean. It hit the island nation twice, causing massive damage and displacing thousands of people. The storm killed nearly 300 people and cost more than $4 billion to rebuild.
The following year was Hurricane Wilma. As part of the Superstorm Sandy recovery, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration spent $5.8 billion to remove sand, as well as nearly $1 billion to repair the state after the storm. Some of the money was used to buy back the homes torn down in Sandy.
As a result of these three devastating storms, Florida became the first state to have all of its residents rebuild.
The City of Homestead is now home to one of the largest concentrations of torn down homes in a single location in the country. The first phase of the disaster was over on September 11, 2012—three people died and more than 900 people lost their homes. The next phase will be completed on April 17, 2013.
This article is part of a series being written for The MRC Connected Health Podcast and is being