On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael slammed into Mexico Beach, Florida as a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 160 mph. With record-breaking wind speeds, Michael was both the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental US (since Hurricane Andrew in 1992) and to ever hit the Florida Panhandle. Tracking across the Southeastern United States, winds plunged 1.4 million residents into complete darkness in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas. Communities across the region were devastated, with full towns in the Panhandle demolished beyond recognition.
Thanks to the support of partners, donors, local community and volunteers we have committed to carrying out critical home repairs on homes in Jackson County between October 2020 and April 2021. Our first DM12 cohort began work last month and are focusing their efforts on mucking and gutting, mold sanitation, home repairs and renewal projects. In addition to repair work our team is also doing mucking and gutting and mold sanitation when needed.
Phase I: Panama City, Florida (October, 2018 to December, 2019)
Assessing the immense and widespread destruction of the storm, our Rapid Response team jumped into action immediately after the storm’s landfall. Identifying a great need in Bay and Calhoun counties, the majority of our work focused just outside Youngstown, Florida. Our initial efforts were chainsawing, debris removal and residential flood cleanup; we then worked on mucking and gutting homes, as well as performing mold sanitations.
Our Hurricane Michael program officially transitioned to the recovery phase in June 2019 and began rebuild work on affected homes; we worked in tandem with local community partners to effectively support recovery and helped more than 800 people.