Video: South Florida slow to recover

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 11/3/2005 8:11:25 PM ET 2005-11-04T01:11:25

At one apartment complex near Ft. Lauderdale, all the residents are moving out. They've been told that if they stay they will be arrested. Fifty apartments were condemned because of storm damage.

In Hurricane Wilma's wake, roofs and ceilings collapsed throughout South Florida, leaving several thousand homes and apartments a soggy mess.

“You still walk in this carpet here, it's like gooshing,” says resident Dora Carter, “like you're in a puddle.”

At the Broward County Emergency Operations Center (BCEOC), the biggest concern now is finding replacement housing for storm victims.

“Affordable housing has been an issue in South Florida, anyway, even before the storms hit,” says the BCEOC's Carl Fowler.

Ironically, many of the damaged roofs actually held up during Hurricane Wilma itself. But when heavy rains hit a week later, they then collapsed. One official says it was South Florida's version of when the levees finally broke in New Orleans.

Although more than 80 percent of the power is restored, stoplights are still out, causing massive traffic jams. The outages have been particularly hard on the elderly. Many have joined the 600 people still in shelters. Mary Kropnick is one of them. 

“Being away from home,” Kropnick says, “I don't like being like this.”

But some are at least trying to adapt. One man, whose roof flew off his barber shop, now gives haircuts outdoors — his shears powered by a school bus battery.

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