PICT Hurricane Irma boats FL Keys USFWS

Relief effort continues in aftermath of Hurricane Ian 

Hurricane Irma resulted in extensive damage in the Florida Keys, such as boats blown onto land. USFWS
Trimmel Gomes

(Florida News Connection) For some in hurricane-ravaged southwest Florida, recovery has been relatively quick. However, as of the weekend, there were still some 69,000 reported power outages and thousands more displaced people.

Businesses are opening back up, and families are slowly continuing to make their way back to their homes or what remains when they arrive. Along with power restoration, access to clean water and basic needs are still issues state emergency managers hope to fix quickly.

Groups such as the Florida AFL-CIO have banded together with other unions across the state to help out.

Hellen Parker, director of operations for the Florida AFL-CIO, said they used to provide financial support but quickly realized after one storm to the next, financial gifts are only nice if you can use them. 

"So instead of giving out financial gift cards of small value, we are now transporting, ice, we have semi-trucks of ice coming down, stuff hat people could use on the ground now: food, water, toiletries," Parker outlined.

Parker pointed out the public can still help to keep those trucks full in support of working families affected by the storm by sending donations to

According to the governor's office, the state has provided more than 13 million meals, 47 million bottles of water and 2.2 million gallons of fuel to those in need. As of Saturday, has raised more than $40 million dollars to help those impacted by the storm.

Parker added unions from across the state will continue to chip in for as long as the need remains.

"The labor movement itself, like unions, you know, we don't have the resources to rebuild houses and things like that," Parker noted. "But we are doing everything that we can to assist the individuals, families communities, that have been affected by, in this case, another Cat-4 hurricane, Ian. "

The state has listed tips to help those affected, including resources for mental health and the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

So far, the state has cleared debris from more than 2,800 miles of roadways. It also brought in around 375 Starlink satellite devices to provide internet. Other essentials such as portable restrooms are being shipped into areas still in need.

For those interested in donating to any relief organizations, the National Center for Disaster Fraud is urging the public to be on the alert for fraudsters. They recommend donating to known charities and to use credit cards instead of cash to keep a record of the transaction.