Tuesday, 06 Dec 2022

Hurricane Ian: residents return to battered homes as death toll rises

Hurricane Ian: residents return to battered homes as death toll rises


Hurricane Ian: residents return to battered homes as death toll rises

Inhabitants of Sanibel, Captiva and Pine Island were among the first to get a glimpse after authorities still searching for survivors from the 28 September storm gave the go-ahead for civilians to return.

A steady stream of residents arrived, mostly on small chartered motorboats, after sections of the Sanibel and Pine Island causeways, the only road links to the mainland, were swept away by 150mph winds and a 12ft (3.6 metres) storm surge.

Officially, 89 people died in Florida from the storm, according to the state department of law enforcement. But the number will grow: an unofficial tally compiled by media outlets has surpassed 120.

That makes it the deadliest storm to strike Florida since the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 claimed more than 430 lives.

Most victims drowned, underlining that the storm surge was the deadliest part of the hurricane.

Not included in the report are five deaths in North Carolina, one in Virginia and three in Cuba, when Ian swept across the west of the island two days before gaining power in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and slamming into the south-western Florida coast.

Authorities in Florida have been criticized for issuing evacuation orders too late, although Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor, and county officials have defended their actions.

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