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Florida Reporter's Video Notebook: Flooding, Downed Trees

Florida Reporter's Video Notebook: Flooding, Downed Trees Read Transcript

Contruibuting corresopndant Chuck Holton is in Miami.

He joins us now for more.

Chuck, you were in Naples yesterday,

and it was so bad you had to leave.

Tell us about that.

Well, what was bad was that there was no power,

and no internet, Heather.

Obviously, there's quite a bit of destruction there.

What we're seeing mostly, is just flooded neighborhoods,

trees down, you know that sort of thing.

Power lines down.

The scope of this thing, I've driven now since the storm,

I rode out the storm in Fort Myers,

and then drove down to Naples, and then to Marco Island


Then last night across to Miami.

So you know, I'm seeing pretty much the same thing everywhere

I go.

HEATHER: So what are you seeing with people on the ground

there, how are they dealing with all of this devastation?

This morning I walked downtown Miami,

and talked to some of the shop owners.

The mom and pop stores that were just

coming back for the first time and seeing their shops.

And they were kind of discouraged,

there was a lot of water damage.

One lady-- the whole ceiling caved in on top of her store.

She said she'd been there for 20 years

and had never had anything like that happen.

So a lot of people lost a good portion of their product.

And some people said that they escaped with minimal damage.

So it just sort of runs the gamut.

there's a lot of debris around on the streets.

Here behind me in the brickle district,

there was a storm surge here, and so like the sidewalk is

covered with mud and there's trees down,

and a few street signs and that sort of thing.

All in all though, everybody is very, just grateful,

that it wasn't worse than it was.

HEATHER: Absolutely.

How would you can compare Miami to what's

going on the Gulf side?

Naples, and that area where you were.

From what I've seen so far, there's

a lot more property damage on the Gulf side.

In Marco Island, Naples, and even Fort Myers.

Just the tremendous amount of downed trees.

a lot of people are expressing frustration,

not even so much with the scale of the damage,

they're very grateful about that.

But what they're frustrated about

is that they were told to leave their homes.

They left their homes, and now they

want to get back into their neighborhoods

and start cleaning up.

And they're not being allowed to come back

into their neighborhoods by law enforcement,

because of the fears of looting and just

trying to keep everybody safe.

People are saying that in the long run, that's

going to actually put people at more risk,

because the next time this happens when they're

told to leave, they're not going to want to leave because they

know that it may be weeks or who knows longer, before the law

enforcement will allow them back into their own neighborhood.

Yeah a lot of difficult decisions-

And so they're very frustrated by that-

Are you seeing any relief groups at work helping people?

Or is that still really in slow motion.

I've seen one church group here in Miami cleaning up

their own church, a Presbyterian church just a couple of blocks

from here.

Other than that, I've not seen any aid groups, just

essentially landscaping people that are out with chain saws

cutting up trees and hauling them off.

I think it might still be a little early.

Probably today we'll start seeing some relief

organizations get down here.

The great needs right now are not

necessarily water or food, although food probably

will become an issue.

What we're seeing is a great need

for chainsaws, trucks to haul away all these downed trees.

And of course, there are power companies

from 30 states that are sending people in here.

I saw big convoys of those yesterday

on the highway rushing down here to try to put the power

grid back together.

HEATHER: Power companies from 30 states, is that correct?

That's what I've been told.

That's amazing.

Let me ask you, something we've talked about in the newsroom

is just the sense of, there were so many

prayers going out for Florida.

And it seems at a certain level Florida dodged a bullet.

Have you have you heard any of that kind

of thinking from people on the ground there?

That's what everybody is saying.

They're all saying they're very grateful.

Some of the shopkeepers this morning

I talked to were saying, thank God

that he answered our prayers.

And that we're coming back water damage,

and not coming back to a concrete slab.

And so yes, everybody is saying that.

Chuck what is the best way, do you think right now,

to pray for the victims of Irma?

I might be the wrong person to ask that question,

because I spent so much time in disaster zones like this.

And it kind of is a pet peeve of mine

when media organizations show you only the worst of the worst

disaster, without giving any context to that.

So for example, if I spin around right here, right here behind

me there is a Starbucks with people

out there having coffee, getting back to normal,

that sort of thing.

What I always pray in these situations,

is that people will be compelled to seek God

in the midst of this tragedy.

Because that's the reason that we go through these things,

so that we will get to know God better

when some of the material stuff gets out of the way,

either in a good way or bad way, we

start to realize that even when our home is gone,

God is still there.

Even when our car is flooded, God is still there.

And you know that's the prayer I think that we

should be praying right now.

All right.

Well Chuck we appreciate you being there.

Chuck Holton in Miami right now.

Thanks for joining us.


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