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Florida Mexico recover from Wilma

Less than 24 hours after Hurricane Wilma hit the Fort Myers Florida Stake Oct. 24 Church members from a neighboring stake started repairing roofs.
Photo by Associated PressCity of Miami employees pull out branches to clear the sewers Oct. 25 in downtown Miami after Hurricane Wilma hit Oct. 24. The Church has sent 12 truckloads of supplies to the area which received substantial damage.
They had been trained by priesthood leaders. They had names and addresses for all Church members in the area on a spread sheet. They had downloaded maps to members homes. Immediately they set up a staging area and a temporary Bishops Storehouse and went to work.
They are just like the U.S. Marines said President Stephen Thompson of the Florida Fort Myers Stake. It was wonderful.
As of press time no missionaries or members in Mexico or Florida had been reported injured in the disaster the 21st storm in the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record.
After causing extensive damage in Mexico Oct. 22-23 Hurricane Wilma a category 3 storm came ashore in southern Florida. Wilma battered Florida for about seven hours with heavy rain and winds damaging buildings and knocking out electricity to an estimated 3.5 million homes. Many meetinghouses in the area were damaged; the steepled of the Miami beach building was destroyed.
In Mexico where the storm pounded the Yucatan peninsula for more than 36 hours the damage was worse. Hundreds of families sought refuge in Church meetinghouses in Cozumel and Cancun where two meetinghouses received substantial damage.
Communications in the area were also seriously damaged making it difficult for the Church to get a complete assessment.
In addition major floods were reported in Cancun Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Between 30 and 40 percent of the population in Cancun suffered some damage to their housing.
In response to the storm the Church purchased six truckloads of food water and other supplies in Mexico that will be shipped into Cancun said Nate Leishman of Church Emergency Response.
Brother Leishman noted that even though the storm didnt wreak the damage some feared it will still be an expensive storm. Many Church members he said are employed in areas relating to the Mexican tourist industry — which was hit hard by Wilma.
Florida will also see an economic impact from the storm he added. The Church has shipped 12 truckloads of emergency supplies including generators chainsaws and food and water.
Florida was pretty well prepared for this Brother Leishman said.
President Thompson said with the exception of a few hundred roofs to repair the members of his stake fared well. Volunteers from other states who came to aid in Katrina and Rita cleanup will not be mobilized this time. We are not contemplating bringing people in from out of state he said.
In fact he said the area received greater damage during last years hurricane season.
For a category 3 storm it is virtually miraculous he said.
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