The sun shines bright in West Florida three days after Hurricane Ian landed. The destruction in Southwest Florida has been seared into our minds. The splintered buildings. The washed-out roads. Sanibel Island, with its collapsed causeway, has been cut off from the mainland. Businesses and homes that survived the attack are now isolated.
Florida authorities reported 53 deaths from Hurricane Ian while the governor of North Carolina reported four confirmed deaths from the powerful cyclone, which has not left any fatalities in South Carolina at the moment.
According to the Florida Medical Forensic Commission, 53 deaths had been reported by Ian, the largest number of them in Lee County, on the southwest coast of this state, the most impacted area and where the hurricane touched land last Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 240 km/h.
What happened in Sanibel Island
In Florida, on the other hand, the story is very different, where this Saturday, three days after the impact of the cyclone, more than 10,000 people still remain in shelters erected by the authorities, according to officials from the Federal Agency for the Management of Emergencies (FEMA) displaced in the area.
They added that they continue to carry out rescue operations for people who are still trapped in their homes, especially on the islands of Sanibel and the town of Latchala, where there is still no drinking water, electricity or basic infrastructure.
According to initial estimates, the passage of Hurricane Ian could cost insurers up to 47,000 million dollars and will affect the growth of the United States, mainly due to flight cancellations and damage to agricultural production.
At the same time, the search continued for 17 people missing after the capsizing of a migrant boat on Wednesday near the Keys archipelago, on the southern tip of Florida.
Before sweeping through Florida, Ian struck Cuba on Tuesday, killing at least three people and causing a widespread blackout.
The slow recovery of electricity service in Cuba, where generation capacity was still insufficient to meet demand, maintained social tension in Havana this Friday, after nightly street protests in various parts of the capital.
Human-induced climate change is leading to more severe weather events around the world, experts say.
According to a preliminary analysis by US scientists published on Friday, global warming added 10% more rain to Hurricane Ian.
“Climate change didn’t cause the hurricane, but it did make it wetter,” said Michael Wehner of the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the scientists involved in this study.
Biden promises help
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, approved a declaration of a disaster area for nine Florida counties affected by Hurricane Ian, which will allow an increase in federal aid to mitigate its effects, as he had promised DeSantis.
Already on Thursday, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, warned of the seriousness and pointed out that “this could be the deadliest hurricane in the history of Florida”, which would imply reaching several dozen deaths. This Friday, Biden has promised more support and assistance and has said that “this is not a crisis in Florida, but a crisis throughout the United States.”
The federal government sent more than 1,300 first responders to Florida prior to Ian’s arrival, working in coordination with 5,000 members of the Florida National Guard.
As a result of the coordination between the federal and state administration, more than 32,000 workers are available to restore electricity in Florida as of Thursday, where almost 200 shelters have been opened that have received more than 10,000 people, as reported during the day.
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