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Florida family forced to separate during Hurricane Irma

September 10, 2017


As everyone in Florida gears up for the elements of Hurricane Irma, Lilian Pfeiffer was one of many evacuees preparing to leave. Unlike most people, however, she had to leave behind part of her family.


As she got into the car to head to Georgia with her son, daughter and dog, Pfeiffer had to say goodbye to her husband, who serves as a nurse in South Florida. Her husband felt it would be impossible to leave all of the patients behind, so he boarded up his house and brought Macho, the family cat, to stay in his office.


“The worst part of leaving is leaving my husband behind and not knowing when I'm going to get back to see him,” Pfeiffer explained. “Getting back is going to be harder than leaving because everyone is going to be getting back at the same time. At least leaving people kind of trickled out on their own, but coming back we are going to be on the road for 24 hours.”


When the Pfeiffer family was finally packed and on the road, the traffic was bumper to bumper, and the cars were not moving. The drive, which usually takes a little less than nine hours, now took over 14. Not having a full tank of gas, Pfeiffer wondered if her car would make it to a gas station that was still stocked. All the lines were incredibly long, with cars all the way to the street; police officers attempting to direct the chaos. On the highway, there was cars pulled over so that drivers could nap because all the hotels were booked to capacity. The Florida air became unsettling to Pfeiffer.


“It sucks to leave your house and not know what you're going to have to come back to… if you'll have anything to come back to,” Pfeiffer said.


Once the family arrived in Georgia, they got to a family friends’ house and settled in, turning on the news. To their dismay, the course of Irma had changed; Georgia was now going to be hit as well. Quickly, Pfeiffer rushed to the supermarket; however, so did everyone else. The struggle to get water and basic supplies was imminent, and she overheard a woman talking about evacuating Georgia.


The Pfeiffer’s are ready for the hurricane, but one of their biggest worries currently is when they can return home and be reunited as a family. Pfeiffer thinks it will be harder to get back home, not only because of all the people, but also because of gas shortages.


“Gas is going to be an issue coming back because gas stations are going to be closed because of the storm.”


Pfeiffer said she is going to get gas cans in Georgia and fill them up; she does not think she will be able to get gas anywhere on the way home.


As of right now, the news is being checked every so often, but the Pfeiffer family is no strangers to hurricanes, so they are prepared. They are safely in Georgia right now, but are waiting to see what is going to happen around their home and country. Irma could cause the largest amount of devastation ever, but worrying will not help. For now, all there is to do is wait.


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