‘The hurricane came and destroyed it:’ Orlo Vista residents salvage what they can after Ian’s flooding

Orange County launches new mobile help unit

ORLANDO, Fla. – Saturday morning, Orange County Commissioner Victoria Siplin and other volunteers from community organizations — including Winter Park NJROTC — took part in a cleanup in a number of local neighborhoods, including the Orlo Vista community. This, after floodwaters invaded homes there as a result of Hurricane Ian.

“We are just here trying to provide some assistance to them because they’ve been devastated and our hearts go out to the families living here in Orlo Vista,” Siplin said.

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Riva Watkins is senior pastor at Majestic Life Church in Orlando and took part in the cleanup, too.

“If you have an able ability to help someone then you ought to do that, so we want to help those who are in need,” Pastor Watkins said.

Clara Amos lives in Orlo Vista and said she’s trying her best to stay positive despite losing almost everything. She and her husband had to be rescued from their home last week by boat after floodwaters made it to their waists.

“We thought Irma was bad, but Ian was worst,” Amos said. “We grabbed what we could, mainly our medications and we waited to be rescued.”

Now, they’re salvaging all they can while looking for a new place to live. She was like many of her neighbors, thankful for the many volunteers who took part in the cleanup Saturday in her community.

“The hurricane came and destroyed it. This was one of the worst,” said resident Diane Scott.

Scott said she too lost almost everything — her home, now filled with mold. It’s why she appreciates the volunteers who removed debris and items from homes that flooded during Ian, getting items ready for street pickup by Orange county crews.

A new Orange County Help Now Mobile Unit was also in the Orlo Vista community Saturday serving as a resource for residents.

“People who need a place to sit, cool off, charge their phones; we have wireless charging stations on this unit,” said Orange County Emergency Manager Lauraleigh Avery.

The mobile unit debuted Saturday, dubbed a “first-of-its-kind” way to provide tools and services to residents among impacted neighborhoods, according to a county’s website.

Avery said a new disaster recovery center will open in Barnett Park on Sunday, to function between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. as state- and federally-supported resource to help residents apply for FEMA assistance, file claims, find meals and more. The site will remain active for a period of 30 days, Avery said, with more details said to come Saturday afternoon.

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About the Author

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.

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