Community feels forgotten in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian

Published: October 15, 2022 9:27 PM EDT
Updated: October 17, 2022 7:46 AM EDT

People in Siesta Isles are beginning to clean up their community, and some say they feel forgotten.

Much of Andrea Berg’s home is gone and what’s left it isn’t livable.

“I’ve lost everything,” Berg said.

Berg lives in Siesta Isles, a little neighborhood on the water as you head toward Fort Myers Beach.

“This is no way to live. It’s like a third-world country. There’s nothing here. It’s still beautiful when you look out at the water, but this is not beautiful anymore,” Berg said.

She stayed in her home during the storm with her husband, Gary, and her 12-year-old son, Mason, until the water got too high and they had to leave.

“My husband said we needed to leave and I put on a life jacket. My son is 12, he put on the life jacket. My small dog had a life jacket on that my son put on. We have a macaw and a big doodle, and we carry them to the car. By the time we open the door, water was waist-deep and got into the car. It was a little higher. I couldn’t close the door, and we started driving. Water from each canal turned into one ocean,” Berg said.

Fearing the worst, Berg began to record what was happening to her home.

“The windows were buckling, we had to hold the windows out of fear they were going to break in. That was terrifying. I thought we were going to die. I wanted my family and my friends to know that we really tried to get out of here and where to look for us in case we could be alive still,” Berg said.

Then she was forced to make one of the hardest decisions of her life.

“My husband asked me if we should go get his parents. They live in that house right there. They’re 90 and 96. My son is 12. We ended up making the decision to go to higher ground. We barely made it,” Berg said.

She got to see her home a few days later and found out it was gone.

“I lost every single piece of clothing I ever had. I am in nursing school, and I lost every single note I ever took. I have lost every picture that I ever took,” Berg said.

For 13 days, the family lived without power.

“We cooked on a little Sterno thing. Little camping. Propane mini stove thing. I boiled water. I made mac and cheese. We live by flashlight. It was horrible. It was horrible,” Berg said.

For now, they are safe in a duplex while they work to rebuild their home. Her mother and father-in-law are safe and still smiling from across the water.