Government shutdown hinders Mexico Beach repair and recovery efforts

Photos taken of Mexico Beach three months after Hurricane Michael by WEAR-TV Photojournalist Tristan Turner.

Three months ago, Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach as a category four hurricane.

Mexico Beach is ground zero. The city is bustling, but not with tourists. Cleanup crews and construction workers have taken over this small beach community.

“We’re not in the rebuilding phase, no way. We’re just in the repair and response” Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey said.

The mayor added about 8 million dollars has already been spent on debris removal.

Mayor Al Cathey estimates they’ll have to pay 22 million more plus another 30 million for infrastructure repairs.

“Mexico beach cannot recover without assistance, immediate assistance” Cathey stated.

The mayor stressed assistance has been hard to secure, especially Amid the government shutdown.

“We don’t have the means to support the type of finances or the type of bills that it’s going to take our city running.”

Three months after the storm, just Half a dozen businesses are open.

“As soon as we had water that was safe to drink, non-boil-able water, we opened” David Kiser

Owner, Caribbean coffee said.

“Business is actually up over and over December and January than before the hurricane, Because the population of workers is more stable.”

Right now, only about 400 residents are living here compared to the usual 1200. Most homes remain leveled with only the slab of concrete and piles of rubble, left behind.

Luckily, Ken chambers’ home sits 39 feet above sea level and it was practically untouched.

“I’m amazed that it’s still sitting there.”

Mayor Cathey estimates it will take about two years to rebuild the small town.

His number one priority is to retain our charm and our character.

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