Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Sentinel Staff Writer

By Day 5, the populace had divided into two camps -- the Haves and the Have-Nots. And the Have-Nots were getting mighty testy.

Although power had been restored to roughly two-thirds of Central Florida homes, more than a half-million residents were still sleeping on sweat-soaked sheets, taking cold showers and throwing away rotting food -- unless they had thrown in the (damp) towel and checked into a hotel.

In the Monterey neighborhood off Semoran Boulevard, one side of the street had power; the other side didn't. The contrast made the waiting all the worse.

"We're sweaty and smelly," Ana Colon said. "We can't go on like this, and we heard the power might not be back on until Saturday."

The Have-Nots had turned skeptical.

There were complaints of price-gouging, overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms and the increasing stench from curbside piles of garbage that had yet to be collected.

But by late in the day, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had sent in the cavalry, setting up a hurricane-relief headquarters in south Orlando.

The Terrace, an outdoor café on Lake Eola, posted a sign for the few joggers and walkers who had returned to the downtown park.

"Orlando – 1," it said. "Charley – 0."

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