SARASOTA COUNTY, Fl. — Resources are trying to make their way to southwest Florida, but flooding shut down the interstate leading to the people who need help most. Now, families impacted by Hurricane Ian are left waiting —hoping they can get food and gas.
“No internet, no phones, no lights,” said Darnell, a driver who waited 15 hours for gas. “It’s a headache dealing with it day in and day out and not knowing what’s next.”
Flooding is making it harder to get resources to the places hardest hit. Several miles of I-75 were shut down because of flooded roadways, and it caused major slowdowns to people making the journey to Fort Myers and other impacted cities.
Gas is now becoming as important as water.
“Everybody’s dying to get gas because they don’t know what they’re gonna do,” said David Nondorf, a driver who gave up waiting at the gas station and went home.
The families waiting in line said they could feel the desperation set in.
“There’s a lot of tension going around,” said Darnell.
“It’s absolute chaos,” said Nondorf.
“They shut this gas station down yesterday because they said there was fighting, so they had to close the gas station down,” said Byron Collins. He was waiting to fill his gas tank to drive to his brother’s funeral.
However, in this chaos, there’s good trickling in. Gas finally arrived at two stations in the Venice area—a city in Sarasota County.
“Fifteen hours later, sitting here at this pump for fifteen hours…it feels like relief,” said Darnell.
For Mike Robinson, he started looking for gas to save the food he has left.
“It’s been a rough ride, my family and I rode through the storm together because we couldn’t afford to evacuate,” said Robinson. “The generator ran out about 7:00 yesterday evening and I've been searching for gas since then and finally found some. So, wow…it’s been over 12 hours.”
The tank he filled will provide a few more hours of power.
“My neighbor has a generator, and he was generous enough to let me plug into his generator,” said Robinson. He ran an extension cord from his kitchen, out his window and into his neighbor’s home. It’s powering his refrigerator.
And in this long wait for power, supplies hope, the small kindnesses everyone can give is what’s helping these families get by.