After Hurricane Ian hit Florida last week, leaving destruction and horror behind, rescuers are going door to door in search of survivors and reporting more deaths. As of today, at least 102 people have been reported killed by the hurricane in Florida, over half of them in Lee County alone. Ian also took the lives of four North Carolina residents.
The furious category four hurricane hit Florida last Wednesday, obliterating entire communities, some of which are still without power, with many Floridians even finding themselves homeless.
Over 400,000 homes and businesses remain without power across the state, and utility companies have declared that the storm damage has rendered some properties “unable to safely accept power.” Residents can expect to remain without power for at least three more days.
Although the counts vary as locals are reporting additional storm-related deaths, the medical examiner’s office is only attributing deaths to the hurricane after an autopsy is performed. Fifty-five deaths have been reported in Lee County, which includes the areas like Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Pine Island.
The death toll reported by Florida officials does not include at least 16 Cuban migrants who remain missing after a boat accident during the hurricane. Of the 27 people on board, nine were rescued by the US Coast Guard, while two managed to swim ashore. The bodies of two more who died have been recovered. However, the search for the 16 missing people has been suspended.
Access to Fort Myers Beach is restricted to allow authorities to look into deaths and to preserve potential crime scenes. On top of the chaos brought about by the hurricane, four arrests had been made after looting incidents were reported.
Last Monday, President Biden visited Puerto Rico, struck by Hurricane Fiona just days before Ian hit Florida, where he promised $60m in aid to help the US territory.
While officials are still evaluating the damage caused by the hurricane in Florida, experts have warned that the economic cost could rise to tens of billions of dollars. So far, insurers have reported about $1.44bn in preliminary claims.