The U.S. government was quick to give access to national funds to rebuild infrastructure and private homes that were damaged by Hurricane Charley. However, there are several other steps that should be taken to reduce the damage future storms may cause.
Mobile homes and other light-build structures bore the brunt of the storm’s damages. Since Florida’s climate is generally mild, homes in Florida are, for the most part, not as sturdy as the buildings farther north that have to withstand harsh winters. Floridians take a gamble of a hurricane hitting their area when they don’t reinforce the structures of their homes.
Naturally, buildings that are not structured to withstand anything harsher than Florida’s sunshine are blown away like the tin cans they often are. Saving money when the initial home is built or purchased may therefore lead to much higher costs when the damaged buildings have to be repaired or replaced entirely. The massive damage to property and the number of deaths left in the path of Charley should illustrate this point clearly enough.
The federal and local governments should be commended for acting swiftly in their efforts to bring monetary relief to those who need it.
This may or may not have to do with the impending presidential election, in which Florida will probably play an important, if not decisive, role. President George Bush Sr., father of current President George W. Bush, made the mistake of not responding in what Florida locals considered a timely fashion when Hurricane Andrew devastated Homestead. It hurt his standing in Florida considerably.
It is understandable that government officials do not want to upset their constituents by raising the cost of homes, but Florida legislators need to enforce stricter building codes in order to alleviate the damages to property and loss of life brought by hurricanes like Charley and Andrew.