With curfew in place, access to Florida Keys is from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A week after Hurricane Irma, there are areas in Monroe County where there was still a broiling humanitarian crisis. Without air conditioner or fresh water, a pair of grandparents emerged from under a pile of rubble at Stock Island.

It was what was left of their mobile home at the Island Life Village. Their neighbors were worried about them. Jerry Malone wasn't wearing a T-shirt, and had some sunburns. Joy Miller was covered in bandages, because she took a beating from the sun. 

"The owners of the park haven't been around," Malone said. 

Authorities reopened the Florida Keys to all evacuees Sunday. Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies wanted residents who were planning on making their way back later in the day to remember the Florida City checkpoint closes at 8 p.m. and will reopen again Monday at 7:30 a.m. 

The National Guard and state and local authorities were still enforcing two curfews in Monroe County. From the Upper Keys to Marathon, authorities want everyone to seek shelter from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew after mile marker 47 in the Lower Keys and Key West is from sunset to sunrise.

"The Keys are not what you left several days ago when you evacuated. Electricity, sewer and water are intermittent at best," Monroe County Mayor George Neugent said Saturday afternoon.

The allure of easier living was over for the influx of "Conch" natives to the Lower Keys. The hot sun was burning and there weren't trees to provide shade. Utilities haven't been completely restored. There is a boil order in effect without electricity. The putrid stench of seaweed is unavoidable in some areas. 

Downed trees and power lines were still blocking some roads and were making it dangerous for residents of the Lower Keys to clean up. 
Irma was also delivering a heavy economic blow, and authorities were expecting some population loss. 
Many lower-income workers who are dependent on the tourism industry were running out of money. Tourists were still not welcome.
Residents in the Upper Keys and Key West who didn't suffer as much damage were getting back to their routines.

For more information about the curfews in Monroe County, call 1800-955-5504.


A guide for locals

ACCESS TO SHELTERS: The Red Cross opened shelters at Marathon Middle High School, 250 Sobrero Beach Rd., and Island Christian High School, 83400 Overseas Hwy., in Islamorada. They were also getting ready to open shelters at Sugarloaf High School, 255 Crane Blvd., in Summerland Key, Key West High School, 2100 Flagler Ave., and Coral Shores High School, 89901 Old Hwy., in Tavernier. 

ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE: Also in Tavernier, the Mariners Hospital opened Friday. The Community Health for South Florida also opened its Tavernier Health Center, 91200 Overseas Highway, for primary care and pediatric services. There were also medical care stations at Florida Keys Community College on Stock Island and at Marathon City Hall. The Department of Health and Human Services activated their 1-800-985-5990 helpline. 
WHERE TO FIND WATER: There was a precautionary boil water notice in effect. The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority workers were distributing water from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in Summerland Key on Horace Street, Big Pine Key on Drinka Road, and at the Big Coppitt Pump Station on U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 10. 
WHERE TO FIND FOOD: There were food distribution centers at Coral Shores High School, 89901 Old Hwy., in Tarvernier; Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Beach Rd.; Sugarloaf School, 255 Crane Blvd., in Summerland Key; Searstown Shopping Center at 3316 N. Roosevelt Blvd.; and the National Key Deer Refuge Office 179 Key Deer Blvd., Big Pine Key. The  Salvation Army will be serving barbecue dinners in Marathon and Key West.
GETTING RID OF DEBRIS: Monroe County isn't charging residents for picking up debris. Garbage collectors were warning residents household garbage, appliances and waste cannot be mixed with branches, seaweed and other vegetative debris. They were also asking residents to stack it without blocking the road and away from sewer system breathers, and not on vacant lots. 

GETTING FINANCIAL AID: The Federal Emergency Management Agency registration can be done on disasterassistance.gov anytime or from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for callers with a speech disability or hearing loss. FEMA will request one social security per household, address, damage description, insurance information, contact information and a bank account's routing number. After the registration, applicants have to schedule a free inspection. The FEMA employee will provide a photo ID and applicants can call 1-866-720-5721 if there is a suspicion of fraud. FEMA will communicate the results of the claim via e-mail or letter. 
COMMUNICATION:  Monroe County has an information hotline: 1-800-955-5504.
HAZARDS AT SEA: The U.S. Coast Guard was asking the public to report hazards to navigation at 304-433-3352.


This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.