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Airbnb offering free refuge for displaced travelers after Fort Lauderdale shooting

A screen grab of Airbnb's site show multiple free rentals that are part of the home-sharing platform's Disaster Response Tool that aids displaced travelers impacted by the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
A screen grab of Airbnb's site show multiple free rentals that are part of the home-sharing platform's Disaster Response Tool that aids displaced travelers impacted by the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Airbnb

Home-sharing platform Airbnb is offering free refuge to travelers displaced by the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday afternoon.

The site, which has a strong presence in South Florida, activated its Disaster Response Tool on Friday, a service that connects passengers affected by the delays and cancellations at the airport with hosts who are offering their rentals free of charge.

The tool was created in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy and has grown in scope since. In October, for instance, the tool was activated to help evacuees of Hurricane Matthew on the East Coast of Florida find refuge.

“We are hopeful that the Fort Lauderdale Airbnb community will come together to open their homes for those in need,” said Airbnb spokesman Nick Shapiro, in a statement.

Airbnb’s Fort Lauderdale disaster tool will be active until Monday.

As of 4 p.m. Saturday,12 rentals, including a boat were still up for grabs.

According to data Airbnb released last year, more than half of Florida visitors who stayed at an Airbnb in 2015 stayed in Fort Lauderdale or Miami — 408,800 out of 754,000 total Florida visitors.

The tool will be active through Monday. To reserve a listing or list your space, visit airbnb.com/disaster/ftlauderdale

As of Saturday afternoon, many flights, including nearly all Delta Air Lines flights — the terminal where suspected shooter Esteban Santiago opened fire and killed five people and injured six others — were canceled, with most being rerouted to Miami International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport.

Judging from the luggage alone, thousands of passengers remained displaced Saturday. More than 20,000 pieces of luggage were left behind at the airport during the chaos, as officials still work to reunite the items with their owners.

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