Hurricane Ian Survivors speak of ‘brutal’ storm as Florida counts cost

The devastation that Hurricane Ian brought with it can be seen everywhere: in Fort Myers, boats are strewn over the streets, while in Naples, the pier has been completely severed in two. The officials in Florida do not yet have a count of the number of people who have passed away. Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a category four storm, was predicted to be one of the deadliest storms in the state’s history by Vice President Joe Biden.

As Ian travels approaches North and South Carolina, the attention has shifted to a large search and rescue operation that is currently underway. According to comments made by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday, more than 700 individuals have been evacuated from the counties of Charlotte and Lee, which have been among the most devastated locations. Following power disruptions, which, many hours later, were still affecting over 2.2 million homes and businesses across the state, he issued a warning that both counties had been left essentially “off the grid.”

On the other hand, he wouldn’t even hazard a guess as to how many people might have been killed, and it’s not apparent how many people are still in need of assistance. According to Mr. DeSantis, there are specific concerns regarding two barrier islands that are located just off the shore. These islands were “struck with absolutely biblical storm surges,” yet they stayed disconnected from the mainland.

Joseph Tiseo, a commissioner in Charlotte County, acknowledged to the BBC that they had registered at least 10 deaths since the “brutal” storm. However, it was unclear how many of these deaths were due to the hurricane itself. He stated that emergency personnel were still attempting to make contact with some of the individuals who had made a need for assistance some hours ago.

‘We had a bunch of calls coming in when the storm was approaching, but we had to shut down 911 operations because we couldn’t put our first responders on the roads during a hurricane event,’ he explained. ‘We had to shut down 911 operations because we couldn’t put our first responders on the roads during a hurricane event.’

In other areas, survivors reported how the floods had imprisoned them in their homes, forcing them to make decisions that may mean the difference between life and death as the water continued to pour in. Janelle Thil, who lived on the ground floor of her apartment building in Fort Myers, Charlotte County, was forced to swim to safety as the building began to flood.

The man, who is 42 years old, shared his story with the news agency AFP, saying, “[My neighbours] seized my dogs, and then I leaped out of the window and swam.” Even homes located further inland were affected by the flooding. There was up to 35 centimetres (14 inches) of rain that dropped in Orlando, and rescue workers had to go door to door to pull people out of their homes.

Hurricane Ian Survivors speak of 'brutal' storm as Florida counts cost
Hurricane Ian Survivors speak of ‘brutal’ storm as Florida counts cost

However, some people did not have the luxury of waiting for assistance to arrive. After evacuating her home through a window in Orlando, one resident told CBS News, the BBC’s partner station in the United States, that her only option was to either swim or drown. When Patrick Hallquist returned to Fort Myers, he reported to the BBC that the storm surge was “the worst” he had ever witnessed, despite the fact that he had been “in quite a few hurricanes.”

According to Governor DeSantis, the surge was responsible for a “flood event that occurs once every 500 years.” Pictures taken before and after the disaster reveal the extent of the destruction, which included the transformation of roads into rivers, the destruction of bridges, and the elimination of entire mobile home communities.

Kim, who lives in the Sun Seekers mobile home park in Fort Myers, Florida, told the BBC that the experience was terrible because “you’re helpless.” Kim was saying this as she waded through the debris that was left behind. We were unable to call anyone because our phone service was off, but no one would have shown up anyhow. After touring the city, Governor DeSantis spoke about the astonishment he felt.

“To see a home just sitting there in the middle of Estero Bay, literally must have gotten picked up, flown due of the huge wind speed, and dropped in a body of water,” he said. “To see a house just sitting there in the centre of Estero Bay.” “I would say that the most substantial damage that I saw was on Ford Myers Beach, where some of the residences were swept away and part of it was just concrete slabs,” you add. ”

I would say that the most significant damage that I witnessed was on Ford Myers Beach.” Even locations that were spared the brunt of the storm’s intensity still incurred significant damage as a result of it. The BBC discovered that Naples, which is located to the south of Fort Myers, was partially darkened and that its famous pier had been severely damaged.

A concession booth that, only a few days ago, served as a marker for the halfway point on the pier is now perched precariously over the water with shattered chunks of wood hanging off of it. Some roads are still inaccessible and underwater about a block away from the coastline, while others have been left covered in mud as the water slowly recedes. Both types of roads are covered in mud.

Nevertheless, despite this, Hurricane Ian, which is now classified as a category one hurricane, is still a threat to life and property. During the briefing for the governor, Kevin Guthrie, head of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, cautioned about “indirect mortality.” These are deaths that can occur after a storm system has moved on.

He cautioned householders to be on the lookout for electrical wires that were entangled in the trees and advised against messing with generators and chainsaws or climbing ladders without first obtaining the appropriate education and expertise. Mr. Guthrie said, “People need to be exceedingly careful,” in his statement. “if you are not familiar with the operation of a chainsaw. if you are not familiar with how to ascend a ladder. If you are not aware of the distinction between a power line and a cable line, you should not be doing what you are doing.”

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