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Andrew's unwelcome visit.

"It looked like a nuclear bomb had fallen" was the metaphor one resident used to describe the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew's Aug. 24 rampage through South Florida. In addition to leaving more than an estimated 250,000 people homeless, Andrew destroyed or damaged hundreds of businesses.

The American Insurance Services Group Inc. estimates that insured losses caused by Andrew will total $10.7 billion, including damages of about $500 million inflicted in Louisiana. This makes Andrew the world's costliest insured loss from a natural disaster, surpassing the $8.5 billion in claims paid out following a 1990 winter storm in Great Britain.

WOOD & WOOD PRODUCTS Assistant Editor Larry Adams spent a couple of days touring devastated sections of South Florida, including Homestead, the hardest hit community. Larry's report includes interviews with local woodworkers, as well as several photos he took -- pictures that barely begin to illustrate the magnitude of Andrew's wrath.

Larry's visit came six weeks after the hurricane struck. It was disheartening to see a world turned upside down. For many, home was now a tent pitched next to the rubble that was once their real house. For thousands, the American dream had overnight turned into a nightmare.

Trying to find a silver lining in a catastrophe is never easy. But if one can be found, it comes in the form of renewed hope for building a better life. This dream was shared by many of the people that Larry interviewed. Most of the local woodworkers said they were experiencing a mini-boom in orders, not only for replacement products, but for refurbishing damaged pieces as well.

Yet, these same woodworkers also know that they must soak up as much business now as possible because this boom will not last. In the words of Randy Lopez, owner of Redland Woodworks in Homestead, "The whole town is rebuilding at once. In three years everything will be brand new and then no one will be buying."

Hurricane Andrew relief aid

Numerous woodworking companies and associations, too many to name in entirety, are to be commended for their contributions to relief efforts, not only in Florida and Louisiana, but also in Hawaii. Examples of good deeds abound. To name a few:

The Architectural Woodwork Institute relief drive has resulted in members trucking everything from laminate to particleboard and plywood to South Florida. Contact Kathy Roessler, Palm Beach Lumber and Export, (407) 842-6220.

The National Kitchen & Bath Assn. has established a relief fund to assist members affected by hurricanes Andrew and Iniki in Hawaii. Monetary donations are to be provided as grants to NKBA members and their employees who suffered business or personal losses. Contact Donna Luzzo, NKBA director of communications, at (908) 852-0033.

Members of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assn. contributed more than $200,000 in lumber and materials to victims in Homestead and another $100,000 in materials to aid victims in Louisiana.

We welcome other groups to provide us with details of their relief efforts so that we can publish information in upcoming issues. And we wish them every success in those efforts to help the hurricane victims rebuild their lives.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Vance Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Hurricane Andrew
Author:Christianson, Rich
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:520
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