Florida deaths rise to 47 amid struggle to recover from Ian

FORT MYERS: Rescuers evacuated stunned survivors on a large barrier island severed by Hurricanes Ian and FloridaThe death toll rose sharply, as hundreds of thousands remained suffocated in days without power after a monster storm raged from the state’s southwest coast up to the Carolinas.
Florida, with nearly four dozen people reported dead, was hit hardest by the Category 4 hurricane, one of the strongest to hit the United States. Flooded roads and washed-out bridges to barrier islands leave many isolated amid limited cell phone service and a lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity and internet.
Florida government Ron DeSantis said on Saturday that the billionaire businessman Elon Musk provided about 120 Starlink satellites to “help with some communication issues.” Starlink, a satellite-based internet system created by Musk’s SpaceX, will provide high-speed connectivity.
Utilities in Florida are working to restore power. As of Sunday morning, nearly 850,000 homes and businesses were still without power, down from a peak of 2.67 million.
At least 54 people are confirmed dead: 47 in Florida, 4 in North Carolina and 3 in Cuba. The weakening storm drifted northward on Sunday and is expected to dump rain in parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, according to the National Hurricane Center, according to the National Hurricane Center. where flash floods have been warned.
More than 1,000 people have been rescued from flooded areas along Florida’s southwest coast, Daniel Hokanson, a four-star general and head of the National Guard, told The Associated Press while in the air. Florida.
In Washington, the White House announced that the President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will arrive in Florida on Wednesday. But a brief statement did not reveal any details about the planned visit.
Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the federal government has been focused on providing resources to needy victims in Florida.
She told “Fox News Sunday” that the federal government is starting to prepare “the largest amount of search and rescue assets I think we’ve ever put on before” – FEMA Search and Rescue, Coast Guard, staff from the Departments of the Interior and Defense – to replenish Florida’s state resources.
The bridge to Pine Island, the largest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, was destroyed by the storm, making it accessible only by boat or by air. The volunteer group Medic Corps, a worldwide disaster response organization with pilots, paramedics and doctors, went door-to-door to ask residents if they wanted to evacuate.
Some people flew out by helicopter, and people described the horror of being trapped in their homes as the water kept rising.
“The water kept pounding against the house and we watched, the boats, the houses – we watched everything just go by,” Joe Conforti said, fighting back tears. He said that if it weren’t for his wife, who suggested they stand on the table to avoid the water rising, he wouldn’t have done it: “I start to lose feeling, because when the water is in front of your door and it splashes out. splash.” on the door and you are seeing how fast it moves, there is no way you will survive then. ”
River floods sometimes pose a major challenge to rescue efforts and delivery services. The Myakka River swept through a section of Interstate 75, forcing a congested highway to close for a time before officials said late Saturday that it could reopen.
While rising rivers have peaked or are nearing their peak, sea levels are not expected to drop significantly for days, National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Fleming speak.
Elsewhere, South Carolina’s Pawleys Island, a beach community about 75 miles (115 km) from Charleston, was also badly affected. Power remained dislodged to at least half of the island on Saturday.
Eddie Wilder, who has been coming to Pawleys Island for more than six decades, said it was “crazy” to see waves as high as 25 feet (7.6 meters) wash away a popular pier near his home.
“We watched it hit the dock and saw the dock disappear,” he said. “We watched it crumble and watched it float with an American flag.”
Wilder’s house, 30 feet (9 meters) from the shore, remains dry inside.
In North Carolina, the storm knocked out trees and power lines. Two of the four deaths in the state were in storm-related vehicle crashes, and the others involved a man who drowned when his truck plunged into swamps and another was killed by a storm. carbon monoxide poisoning from the generator in the garage.
At the Port Sanibel Marina in Fort Myers, Florida, the high tide pushed several boats and a dock ashore. Chartered Captain Ryan Kane said his boat was badly damaged so he couldn’t use it to save lives, and it was a long time before he could bring his guests back to fishing.
“There’s a hole in the hull. It gets water in the engines. It gets water in everything,” he said, adding: “You know, boats are supposed to be in the water, not in the docks. ”
Lee County officials ordered residents to evacuate Tuesday, a day later than other counties in the area did.
Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson on Sunday defended Lee County officials from accusations that they were slow to order evacuations before the storm.
Anderson said on the CBS program “National Face.”
Separately, DeSantis on Friday noted that multiple forecasts place Ian making landfall north of Lee County and said officials there acted appropriately when models began to focus on the county.


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