July 27, 2017

When Disaster Hits Close to Home

by: NASA Satellite shot of Hurricane Matthew over Florida
by: NASA Satellite shot of Hurricane Matthew over Florida
by: NASA
Satellite shot of Hurricane Matthew over Florida

by Jonathan Chandra ‘17

Staff Writer

After devastating Haiti, a weakened Hurricane Matthew hit Florida today, Oct. 7. Last night, a Tartan reporter interviewed Gordon College students whose families were affected by the situation.

“My family is right outside the evacuation, the mandatory evacuation zone. So they’re in the voluntary evacuation zone. And the hurricane is projected to go right through Orlando, right where my parents live, where my family lives,” said Luke Pollack ’20, who had last called his family two hours before the interview.

Pollack said, “They boarded up the house, put sandbags down, just took everything out of the house, took everything down that was liable to fall, pretty much just prepared as much as they could and got a lot of food, just kind of praying, hoping that everything will be okay,” he added, when asked how his family was reacting to the hurricane.

Sarah Gibson ’18 and Nigesca Maxime ’19 are among others who have families near the path of the hurricane.

“Family members in Georgia have been forced to evacuate while family members in Jacksonville are settling in. My mum lives in Key Largo and she said it hasn’t really affected her but will have to wait and see how the storm goes,” said Gibson.

For Maxime, whose uncles, aunts, cousins, grandmother and grandfather live in Florida, Hurricane Matthew has revealed to her how disasters are different when family might be affected.

“It’s definitely different, because you want to say you feel the same way when it’s random people that’s being affected versus people that you know but it is a completely different feeling,” said Maxime.

In the face of the hurricane, some families are not as restless as others with the coming disaster.

“My family hasn’t really reacted, they are used to this occurring as most Floridians are so it’s nothing new,” said Gibson.

 

Gibson said, “Many of my younger relatives are actually posting memes and jokes relating to the hurricane on social media.”  

Other students, however, are truly concerned.

“I’m just scared that, you know, our house is going to get crushed and my parents are going to get injured, or my sisters. I’m just scared for them. Especially the fact that I’m not there with them. If I was there with them I’d feel a little better. I know this is a horrible thing to say but I don’t want that phone call to be the last time I ever talk to them,” said Pollack.

Hurricane Matthew began as a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, with winds greater than 156 mph. As it has made it’s way towards Florida, Matthew has taken on Category 2 status. Affected areas include Haiti, Colombia, the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic.

According to official reports, there have been over 800 reported deaths in Haiti alone in relation to Hurricane Matthew (Reuters). There have been four reported deaths in Florida (CNN).

The Tartan reporter contacted the students previously interviewed to check on their families in the aftermath of the hurricane. Maxime has since heard from her cousin that “it didn’t really hit them and kinda passed through them.” The others interviewed have not yet responded.

If you are a member of the Gordon community whose family or friends have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, and have information or images related to the situation, please contact jonathan.chandra@gordon.edu.

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