Despite the devastation that people in parts of Florida faced from Hurricane Irma, the Consul General of India in New York, who was aiding in some of the relief efforts, said Indian Americans are “very upbeat.”
Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty Sept. 12 told India-West that the impact of the storm wasn’t as bad as some people had expected.
“People have had some problems with power and structures, but there have been no reports of injuries or casualties (to the Indian American community),” Chakravorty said. “That has been very heartwarming to come from this.”
The good thing, Chakravorty continued, is that the people who were displaced – mostly from Tampa, an area that wasn’t fully expecting the Irma to hit their community – have a strong networking group helping those affected where to find shelter and food.
Many of the people hadn’t returned home since the storm hit Sept. 10, the consul general said, so the extent of the damage to homes is unknown.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on Florida’s southern islands Sept. 10 and claimed four lives as millions of people, including thousands of Indian Americans, evacuated the state.
About 120,000 Indian Americans live in Florida, thousands of them residing in the now-dangerous zones of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and even Tampa, according to 2010 census.
In his time in Atlanta, working aside with the Consulate General of India in Atlanta, which was spearheading the Indian American relief efforts, Chakravorty said about 1,000 Indian Americans were being housed by the Consulate General in Atlanta, and credited numerous Indian organizations with helping.
“Atlanta did an incredible job,” Chakravorty said, adding that his Consulate General in New York worked 24 hours a day for the two-to-three days leading up to the storm to organize with shelter and food. “Not only did (the Atlanta groups) help with Indians, they helped with all other members of the community.”
The New York consul general left feeling a positive vibe from the efforts made.
“It was very upbeat. People were trying to get back to normal,” he said. “They have taken it in stride.”