For some farm workers, Irma stole shelter from the storm

There's been no Irma relief for these Floridians
There's been no Irma relief for these Floridians

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    There's been no Irma relief for these Floridians

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There's been no Irma relief for these Floridians 01:10

Story highlights

  • Immokalee is in southwestern Florida
  • Farm workers live in the neighborhood

(CNN)It's not Naples and it's not Key West. It's not Tampa and it's not Miami Beach.

The place is called Immokalee -- it's tucked away in a rural and remote stretch of Collier County, in the southwestern corner of Florida.
It's home to people who labor in the fields, picking fruit and vegetables.
    In one neighborhood, a stretch of trailers, the tomato and potato pickers heeded the warnings and scrambled to shelters as Irma approached.
    When families filtered back after the storm blew by, they found their lives had been swept away -- yet another burden in a life of back-breaking work.
    "Coming back to this is really difficult to handle," said resident Rick Martinez.
    None of the structures escaped Irma's wrath.
    Virtually every dwelling in the small and modest community was hammered to varying degrees: Debris where kitchens stood. Open-air roofs. Clothing and furniture scattered. Structural damage, big and small. Flooded vehicles. Water standing waist deep.
    Irma ripped the roofs off two of the trailers. One was blown into a tree that fell on a trailer -- another flew down the street and wrapped around a telephone pole.
    Siding was flattened as if someone had exhaled and knocked down a house of cards. Windows were taped and boarded, but provided no resistance to the monster storm.
    How do you rebuild after this?
    "It's sad. It's like ..." said Florena Galindo, who wept as she spoke and failed to muster more words.
    Mario Jose and Elena Valentin Soto went home to a roofless trailer. They threw a blue tarp over half of it and sat on patio furniture. They have nowhere else to go, they said.
    Galindo lives in another trailer with her mother and two children. Neighbors comforted her as she surveyed the horror.
    They have no insurance, they said. The trailers are old and rickety, they said, and it's tough to get coverage.
    Residents boarded up their homes before they fled.
    "I told them from the very beginning they need to leave town because of the hurricane," Martinez said. "They weren't expecting this at all."
    Has anyone come by to help? "No," he said.
    Nobody has come by? "No."
    CNN called the sheriff's office to ask if anyone there was aware of the damage.
    No one was available to talk. Officials were deluged with the aftermath of the storm. A receptionist said she would pass along the message. She suggested that FEMA and the Red Cross might be able to help. FEMA was contacted and it too was overwhelmed with requests for help.
    Collier County Government Public Information Coordinator Kate Albers said the county knew about the damage to the mobile homes and trailers. But she was unaware of immediate plans to replace them. Officials are directing those in need of shelter to Immokalee High School, which currently has 150 people. Phones, electricity and cell service are down, hindering communication efforts, she said.
    "We are still assessing needs everywhere," she said, and the situation in Immokalee "is still not clear."