La Jornada – They issue a disaster declaration after the passage of ‘Ian’ through Florida

St. Peterburg. The hurricane Ian wreaked a trail of destruction as it passed through Florida, stranding people in flooded homes, cutting off the only bridge to a barrier island, destroying a historic pier and leaving more than 2.5 million people homeless on Thursday. electricity.

GALLERY: Florida faces devastation after the passage of ‘Ian’.

Ian, one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the United States, moved through the Florida peninsula on Wednesday night. Its tropical storm-force winds extended for a radius of up to 665 kilometers (415 miles), drenching much of Florida and the southeastern Atlantic coast.

“He crushed us,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He said many roads and bridges remained impassable Thursday, stranding thousands of people in the county where the eye of Ian made landfall just north of Fort Myers. “We still can’t reach many of the people who need it,” he added.

Authorities confirmed at least one death from the storm in Florida: a 72-year-old man in Deltona who fell into a canal while using a hose to drain his pool in the pouring rain, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said. Two people died in Cuba after Ian will pass by

Marceno said that while he lacked details, he believed the death toll would be in the “hundreds.” Gov. Ron DeSantis later said the balance was unconfirmed and was likely an estimate based on calls to the 911 emergency number.

President Joe Biden formally issued a disaster declaration Thursday, and Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said FEMA is supporting search and rescue efforts. The Coast Guard also began rescue efforts on barrier islands in southwest Florida early Thursday as soon as the winds abated, DeSantis said.

“The Coast Guard sighted people who were in their attics and were rescued from their roofs,” DeSantis added. “We have never seen storm surge of this magnitude…The amount of water that has been rising, and will likely continue to rise today, even as the storm is passing, is basically a flood event not seen in 500 years.”

A piece of the Sanibel Causeway bridge fell into the sea, blocking access to the barrier island where 6,300 people normally live. It is not known how many people complied with mandatory evacuation orders before the storm surge washed over the island.

South of Sanibel, huge waves tore apart the historic Naples beachfront pier, even ripping away the pilings underneath. “Right now, there is no dock,” said Penny Taylor, the commissioner for Collier County, which includes Naples.

Emergency crews had to hack their way through fallen trees to reach people trapped in flooded homes, but with no power and intermittent cell phone service, many calls for help were not reaching their destination.

“Portable towers for cell service are on the way. Your loved ones most likely won’t be able to reach you,” the sheriff’s office in Collier County, which includes Naples, warned. “We can tell you that as daylight reveals the consequences, it’s going to be a tough day.”

Ian’ may be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history, Joe Biden said

Washington. President Joe Biden warned this Thursday that Hurricane Ian may have been the “deadliest” in Florida’s history and stated that he will travel to the area “when conditions allow.”

“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history,” he said after a visit to the offices of the agency in charge of natural disasters (FEMA) in Washington. “The numbers (…) are still not clear, but we have received information that shows a substantial loss of life.”

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