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August 25, 1992, Miami Herald's headlines read: Destruction at Dawn. Among worst hit in the Country Walk area of South Dade, few homes escaped at least minor damage and many were utterly destroyed. 10 killed in Dade.
August 27, 1992, Miami Herald's headlines read: The Toll Rises. 22 dead as the search continues. 63,000 homes destroyed. 175,000 homeless. 1 million without power.
August 28, 1992, Miami Herald's headlines read: WE NEED HELP! Relief effort collapsing due to United States inaction, Metro charges. Aid us now or more will die, Feds told. As Dade County's hurricane relief effort neared collapse Thursday, more than 1,500 airborne U.S. soldiers were ordered into the county to cope with what is now being called the worst natural disaster in the United States history. The move came after a day of bitter snipping among agencies that share responsibility for the relief effort.
United States Aid Official, Wallace Stickler, stated, "Andrew has caused more destruction and affected more people than any disaster America has ever had."
Dade County's Emergency Director pleaded for federal help, one angry voice among many that spoke in the dire terms of needs unmet. Frustrated to the point of tears, Kate Hale said, the relief project was on the brink of collapse, a victim of incompetence and political games.
"Where the hell is the cavalry on this one? We need food! We need water! We need people! If we do not get more food into the south end [South Dade] in a very short period of time, we are going to have more casualties!"
"We have a catastrophic disaster," Hale went on to say. "We are hours away from more casualties. We are essentially the walking wounded. We have appealed through the State to the Federal Government. We've had a lot of people down here for press conferences. But Dade County is on its own. Dade County is being caught in the middle of something and we are being victimized."
"Quit playing like a bunch of kids and get us aid! Sort out your political games afterward!"
On the same day Hale made the desperate plea, Miami Herald Staff Writers, Martin Merzer and Tom Fiedler, wrote: The question echoed through the debris Thursday: If we can do it for Bangladesh, for the Philippines, for the Kurds of northern Iraq, why in God's name can't we deliver basic necessities of life to the ravaged population of our own Gold Coast?
The short answer: Because no single person or agency is in charge.
The result: A plane load of food and equipment is still a rarity. Instead of delivering goods, helicopter pilots shuttle government officials who just sit idle. Metro police turn away individuals trying to bring in food or water to a barren South Dade.
August 29, 1992, six days into the aftermath, the Miami Herald read: Problems Plague Red Cross. The man on the phone wanted to donate 100 electric generators, extension cords and enough tools to build a small subdivision. But the operator who took his call at the Red Cross Command Center in Miami had no idea what to do with the offer.
"We get a call, we take a message, we give it to somebody, who signs it to somebody else," said the operator, Melitta de Liefd. "We have no idea what happens to it. The whole place is being run by senior citizens and college kids."
Welcome to Red Cross headquarters - where the brains of Dade County rescue effort have been knocked almost unconscious most of the week. Callers offering services and supplies are put on hold. Others can't get through at all. The hurt and suffering plead for help over ham radio.
August 29, 1992, one full week after Hurricane Andrew struck, the Sun-Sentinel reported "250,000 people homeless in South Dade."