damage

20 Years Ago There was Hurricane Named Andrew

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Krome Avenue Post Andrew 1992

20 years ago, Hurricane Andrew was a category 5 storm that hit South East Florida on August 24, 1992.  I was living in Tampa, Florida and only experienced some bad weather, my family and many others suffered through the storm of the century as it was being called.

Countless property was lost and Miami, especially Homestead, Florida was an utterly appalling  disaster area.  Water was scarce, tempers ran high as people struggled to provide the survival necessities.  My family’s home was severely damaged in the storm forcing my family to relocated to North Miami while the repairs were being done on the home.  I still regret for not realizing the extent of emotional and physical damage to my family.  I should have packed up my Bronco with supplies and headed to Miami, but I didn’t.  And, for this I am deeply sorry.  One positive outcome of the hurricane Andrew was that my beloved brother and I grew much closer cultivated our brotherhood.

I am not exactly sure when these pictures were taken.  It was sometime later probably in Autumn of 1992 when I took a drive around Homestead to see the damage with my own eyes.  The streets were unrecognizable, I couldn’t tell one from the next.  All of my childhood landmarks were gone.  The Miami that was part of my soul was blown away as the 175 mile per hour winds (280 k/ph) hit the city of my birth.  When I drive Krome Avenue these days, it still looks more barren than it ever was, except for all the cookie cutter developments that was sprouted over the last 20 years.

All these years later Miami has become a greener city again.  Many of the trees have grown back and some of the neighborhoods look lush as they used to, but not the same.  There are neighborhoods you can visit in between Miami and Homestead where the only the foundation of buildings remain.

It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since that day.  These pictures were taken with my beloved Nikon FG, and a taped up and reloaded disposable panorama camera.  They were also hand printed in my university’s darkroom.  Some of my first prints to be done in color.  My color balancing skills were not as good as they are now.  As I can now use my digital darkroom to work on my pictures, part of my heart still belongs to the magic of watching an image come alive in the developer.

Looking back now I have come to the realization how much this event changed my life.  Hurricane Andrew not only tore down buildings but it ripped some families to shreds. I am thankful that my family was safe, and that we all survived to be together.

Let us not forget this tragedy as other storms barrel their way across the Caribbean and the American South, especially the land of my birth, Miami.

137 Street Homestead Post Andrew 1992

 

After Andrew Homestead Racer 1992

 

 

Urayasu: Spring, Dust, Liquefaction and Hope

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I spent three hours yesterday wondering around Shin Urayasu trying to take in what my neighbors across the river from have been going through.  The first thing that I have to say is that although the damage is quite extensive, it can not even be compared to what the people in the Tohoku area have been going through.

As my sneakered feet wandered in between the houses, and apartment complexes that fill the reclaimed land of Urayasu, I couldn’t help but notice that for as much damage that had been done, there was as construction crews all over the city.  The dusty air filed my nose and the rattling of jack hammers hit my eardrums.  I was surprised to see housewives sweeping up dust into white drawstring bags and placing them in front of their homes.

A sign at a local kindergarden gives the people words of encouragement in their times of trouble.  I was warmed to see people working as a community to help get the city back to normal as quickly as possible.

Walking along recently graveled filed sidewalks I would stop and stare at a portion of a wall that had collapsed or to watch a construction crew to repair streets.  The amount of activity was mind boggling.

I have great hope for the future of Japan.  Japan has an opportunity to come together to face the triple disaster and emerge on the other side stronger and connected with each other.  Spring is here.  The flowers are reaching for the sun.  I pray that all the love and cooperation will continue long after all the dust has been cleaned from the streets.

Don't Give Up Urayasu, Urayasu 2011

Sunken Bench in Mihama 3 Chome, Urayasu 2011

Much Work to be Done, Urayasu 2011

The Steps Vanished, Urayasu 2011

Tilting Police Box, Urayasu 2011

Spring Renewal in the Dust, Urayasu 2011

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