Hurricane Ian destroyed homes in Florida residential area. Natural disaster and its consequences.

UF Warrington alumna provides disaster relief after Hurricane Ian

On September 28, Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida. Countless communities were devastated by the storm’s fury. Even now, a month later, people are reeling in the wake of destruction and trying to figure out what to do next. Fortunately, Linnea Dulikravich (BSBA ’20, BA ‘20) has found a way to help.

Dulikravich grew up in Naples, Florida, one of many cities impacted by Hurricane Ian. Fortunately, her parents’ and brothers’ homes in Naples were not severely damaged by the storm. Her fiancé’s family in Bonita Springs, however, suffered a more direct impact.

During the storm, a relative of her fiancés’ recorded a video of waves that reached his condo on the second floor. Other friends in the area were without power for nine days after the storm severely damaged their home.

“It is hard for me to imagine what Naples and the greater southwest Florida area looks like now,” she said. “Close friends of mine whose home suffered extensive roof damage told me that the pictures on the news ‘don’t do justice’ to the destruction the storm caused.”

Hurricane Ian also ruined Dulikravich’s travel and wedding plans. Due to the widespread destruction, she and her fiancé had to cancel their flights and appointments with wedding vendors.

“People lost their lives in this storm,” she said. “Entire communities lost their homes, and many people lost their jobs. My story is just a small example of the ripple effect I know this storm will have on the local economy for years to come.”

Even though Dulikravich no longer lives in Florida, she was moved by the effects of the disaster and knew she had to help.

Dulikravich is passionate about public service. From her academic years to her current job as a Legal Program Specialist with FEMA in Washington, D.C., Dulikravich has been finding ways to serve her community and her country. In the wake of Hurricane Ian, she decided to use her skills to create a disaster relief resource to help people recover from the storm.

“I knew that once search and rescue efforts ended, many people would start asking the same question: how do I move forward?” she said. “I felt a strong desire to help my hometown in any way I could, but I struggled to find remote volunteer opportunities. After the storm, I received questions from a few friends and family that I was able to assist with by researching relevant state- and federal-level programs.

“This made me realize that building a resource list is something I could do remotely to help my hometown’s residents and local businesses.”

Eagerly, Dulikravich began researching reputable sources and compiled her findings into a comprehensive list, which she dubbed “Ian Relief.” Her hope for this project is that it will serve as a research aid for disaster survivors seeking information on their road to recovery.

“For better or worse, finding the help you need after a natural disaster often involves sifting through an overwhelming number of news articles, nonprofit webpages and government websites,” she said. “My goal for is to simplify this step in the disaster recovery journey by providing straight-forward information on which programs and organizations are offering different forms of direct assistance.”

As she continues the project, Dulikravich anticipates expanding the website in response to any questions she receives via the “Submit a Question Here” button, located on the website’s homepage. For those wishing to become involved, there is a brief volunteer form available on the website. In particular, Dulikravich indicated that assistance with updating the website and raising awareness would be helpful.

“I enjoy and encourage any opportunities to collaborate with other resource lists that you know of, and I am especially interested in expanding the current site to include more nonprofit organizations and local-level resources by county,” she said.

To others who are also moved by the disaster that devastated southwest Florida, please consider donating to Southwest Florida recovery funds, including but not limited to:

United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties

Community Foundation of Collier County

Dulikravich’s project is done in her personal capacity and her views do not necessarily represent those of FEMA or the Government.