MEXICO BEACH, FLa. (WMBB) -- City Clerk Adrian Welle was one of the estimated 300 people in the city of Mexico Beach that decided to stay in the city through Hurricane Michael. He says as the city begins to recover from the catastrophic damage, the community is in need of several necessities including gas, port-a-potties and refrigerated trucks to keep people's medication cool.
Welle says basic recovery is the biggest priority right now, and the less traffic on the roads, the better.
He says while he understands people want to get back to check on their homes, it is important they wait at least a week as crews work to clean trees, broken windows and other debris off roads.
"You can't get to most of your homes right now," says Welle. "Everything is a mess and we need to get it cleared up before people can get in."
When asked about injuries, Welle says the city has been lucky.
"There's not a lot. With the amount of people, it could have been a lot worse," he says.
Wellin said at last count, around 300 people, himself included, decided to stay through the storm. He says many people thought it would only be a Category 3 storm.
"We did not think it was going to be a big storm. A lot of people from here [were] saying they've been through this before," says Welle.
Wednesday morning before the storm hit, Welle received messages from people who had changed their minds and decided to leave.
"At that point, the bridges were closed and we couldn't get out," says Welle. "We were okay, we were in a good place but I'll never do it again."
He said while he did not have an exact estimate of how many homes were damaged he says "most things aren't standing."
Welle says the response the community has received from surrounding areas has been overwhelming.
"When the first FEMA trucks came in, we saw trucks that said Louisiana, Miami, New Orleans... My wife and I both started to cry," recalls Welle. "They've been there. Help was here."
As the recovery process begins, Welle says the city desperately needs gasoline, port-a-potties, portable showers, and refrigerated trucks for people's medication. A nurse from South Georgia who set up a donation station and is serving hot meals and giving out supplies to anyone in need said the area will also need tetanus shots.
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