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Hoosier teams continue to assist in hurricane cleanup

WSBT 22

Officials across Florida are looking at the damage done by the storm. There are still people from our area helping.

Josh Stahl, a Bristol firefighter has been there since Saturday. The firefighter was deployed to Florida through the Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

That team comes in to provide aid for those after situations like Harvey and Irma.

"We've seen a lot of wind damage. A lot of water. Some flooding,” said Stahl.

Stahl was deployed to Central Florida to help with the after-effects of Hurricane Irma. He's part of a 35-member team providing medical services when needed.

"We're trying to do anything we can as quickly as we can and efficiently as possible to help get people who needed to evacuate… and those that need medical care – the proper care that they need,” he said.

Stahl says he honored to help others.

"It's very rewarding. The frustrating part though is when we first initially were down here. We were staged, waiting for our resource to arrive. We know there are people, a lot of people need help. But we can't get to them right away,” said Stahl.

While Stahl is helping people in Florida, Notre Dame Economic Professor Thomas Gresik is looking at ways the hurricanes are impacting people here.

Hurricane Harvey spiked gas prices. It's now around $2.53 a gallon in South Bend. Gresik says that number could decline in a matter of weeks.

But Irma is impacting produce prices which could take a while to change.

"It will take a while before they can start to replant. So I would expect with fruit and vegetable prices that we're going to see a more sustained increase in prices not just for the next couple of weeks – month but probably going into the winter as well,” said Gresik.

As cities start to rebuild, Gresik says the economy as a whole will begin to improve.

“The silver lining behind hurricanes is that the growth rate goes up a lot in terms of economic activity because the huge reinvestment that takes place. We would all rather not see it because there was a huge amount of destruction. Both in the Gulf area and Florida,” Gresik said.

The economics professor also says the cleanup will increase the need for construction workers.

So far, Harvey and Irma have caused up to $200-billion in damages.

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