Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida on Wednesday, left a gigantic damage behind it. Stan starts cleaning up after the disaster, but it is known that the process will be long and arduous. Some counties do not have access to drinking water and electricity, and some areas have been completely cut off from the rest of the world.
Ian was headed towards South Carolina on Friday afternoon our time as a first-degree hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson five-point scale. However, it struck Florida with much greater force on Wednesday, killing many people and wiping entire neighborhoods off the face of the earth. The state authorities have announced that federal services are also involved in helping the injured.
The death toll is counting
Kevin Guthrie, Florida’s director of crisis management, said Wednesday morning local time that the 21 deaths were presumably related to Ian’s transition. As he pointed out, officials are still working to determine whether most of the dead are directly or indirectly victims of the hurricane. Their number is likely to increase. Guthrie cited the example of a sunken house in which a Coast Guard diver found the bodies, but was unable to pinpoint the exact number of people who died there.
During Friday’s press conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that electricity is still not available in some counties. Only 1 percent of Hardee’s customers and 15 percent of those in the UK were back up and running. in Charlotte and Lee counties. In the latter area, the water supply network was completely destroyed. “The county does not have water at the moment, which is needed to function,” emphasized DeSantis. “We turned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for support,” he added.
Peter Robbins, a spokesman for electricity grid operator Florida Power & Light, said most of the residents of the state without electricity should receive a schedule from the company to restore power until late in the evening.
“We are still assessing the damage in the worst-hit areas where access was difficult due to flooding and debris,” explained Robbins. “It will take us a little longer to get the schedule for these seats, but we should have estimates for most of our clients by this evening.”
Broken bridges and trapped inhabitants
Local media reported that Hurricane Ian damaged the Causeway Bridge, cutting Sanibel Island off the mainland. The bridges on Pine Island also remain impassable, meaning residents can only receive assistance by water or air. Not only emergency services but also groups of civilian volunteers help in providing supplies and evacuation.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited the worst-hit regions on Thursday. Some of the damage he said is “indescribable”. At the evening press conference, he added that the most serious losses were recorded near the beach in Fort Myers.
– Some of the houses have been wiped off the face of the earth. Some of them are only concrete slabs, he said.
“There is a high probability that the water level across the city will continue to rise in the coming days as the rainwater that Hurricane Ian ejected north of us flows south,” the statement said.
President Biden promises to help
President Biden said it could be “the deadliest hurricane in Florida history.” He added that he will visit Florida in person, as soon as conditions permit.
“We will do everything we can to rebuild Florida as soon as possible.” We will build it back together with state and local governments. However long it takes, we’ll be there. This is my commitment to you, he said in Washington.
More than 5,000 National Guard soldiers from all over the country were sent to help local communities.
While the federal government is devoting resources to emergency aid in Florida, President Joe Biden said he hadn’t forgotten the Hurricane Fiona victims in Puerto Rico.
– I am committed to helping you and rebuilding the island. We will be with you as long as possible – he added.
President Biden also announced that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs that the state of Florida has incurred in connection with the rescue operations related to Hurricane Ian.
“Biblical storm wave”
The element hit Florida at wind speeds of up to 240 kilometers per hour.
“Sanibel Island has been hit by a storm surge of biblical proportions,” Governor DeSantis said on Thursday. – The effects and damage that this did stormare historical – he added.
Kevin B. Anderson, mayor of Fort Myers, said the hurricane damage to his city was devastating. – Traffic lights are not working, power lines are broken, trees fallen – he was enumerating. “I’ve never seen a storm that has caused so much damage to this area before,” he added.
“We couldn’t get outside”
Rainfall was a particular danger in central Florida. It has been estimated that over 300 liters of water per square meter have fallen in this area, and that it may even drop even 100 l / sq m. The torrential rains turned into flash floods, which hinder the work of the emergency services. In the city of Naples on the Florida coast, a two-meter wave approached fire stations, making it impossible to go to action.
“Honestly, it was a bit stressful,” said Naples firefighter commander Pete DiMaria. “We thought we had a good plan, but the water rose on us so quickly we had to back off.” We couldn’t get outside and we had some actions to do.
The city under the water
In Lee County, which was hit hardest by the elements, the fire department began repairing the damage. Due to the difficult weather conditions, firefighters were unable to clear the roads and reach many people in need of help.
Lee County Police said Wednesday that some buildings had been destroyed and that the floods had hijacked many cars. The city of Fort Myers Beach was nearly drowned by flood waters, and in Cape Coral, some residents were trapped in their own homes and vehicles.
Ian in Cuba
Before Hurricane Ian hit Florida, it passed through western Cuba. At least three people have died, authorities in Havana said on Thursday. According to state authorities and local media, the number of victims may be higher.
According to information from the CiberCuba website, 85 percent of buildings were destroyed in some places in the Pinar del Rio province, which was most affected by the elements. The portal claims that several million Cuba residents were without electricity on Thursday, and it could take several days for the country’s energy system to restore its operation. There is even a shortage of electricity in a few medical facilities.
tvnmeteo.pl, Reuters, NHC, TVN24, NBC, CNN
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / TANNEN MAURY