Residents allowed to return to Florida island slammed by Hurricane Ian
Residents were allowed to return to a coastal island that was decimated by Hurricane Ian on Saturday with a warning from the governor that the disaster isn’t over.
Many of the homes on Estero Island are still without basic services. Therefore, portable toilets, hand-washing stations and shower trailers were brought in by Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at a news conference. Before rebuilding can begin, debris must still be removed.
“There’s a lot more to do, and really some of the hardest stuff is still ahead of us,” DeSantis said.
Although residents were initially allowed to return to the island following the storm, officials closed down access to allow teams of search teams to complete their investigation of the wreckage building by build for potential victims. After the work was completed, residents were allowed to return to their homes on buses.
Shana Dam went to see what was left of her parents’ house.
“It has gone,” she said to the Fort Myers News-Press . “It’s gone. “
Just getting around the island, home to most of Fort Myers Beach, is difficult because of storm debris, but heavy equipment was used to clear roads.
Fort Myers Beach stated that it will allow more residents to return to the island starting Sunday morning. CBS Fort Myers affiliate WINK reports . On Saturday, Fort Myers Beach’s mayor stated that there is no water or electricity on the island and that trash pickup will not be available. The fire department also stated that no structures are safe to enter at the moment.
Residents who want to return to see the damage are expected to be back off the island by 7 p.m., when an overnight curfew will begin, according to WINK.
With signs warning homeowners that looters would be shot, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno stated that only nine cases of theft had been reported.
Ian, a high-end Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) at landfall, was the third-deadliest storm to hit the mainland United States this century behind Hurricane Katrina, which left about 1,400 people dead, and Superstorm Sandy, which had a total death count of 233 despite weakening to a tropical storm just before it made U.S. landfall.
State officials have reported 94 storm-related deaths in Florida so far and most were in Lee County, which includes the Fort Myers area and nearby Gulf Coast islands including Estero. CBS News has contacted local sheriffs and, with their records, has confirmed at least 125 deaths — directly or in part — due to the hurricane in Florida.
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