FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Residents were allowed to return to coastal islands devastated by Hurricane Ian on Saturday after receiving a warning from the governor that the disaster is not over.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference that many of the homes still standing on Estero Island lack basic services, so mobile toilets, hand-washing stations, shower trailers and other necessities will be trucked in. He said it was delivered to residents who wanted to stay. Debris must be cleared before rebuilding begins.
“We still have a lot of work to do. In fact, some of the most difficult things still lie ahead of us.
Residents were initially allowed to return to the island after the storm, but authorities cut off access so that teams could erect a possible casualty building and finish searching the building for wreckage. Did. Once the work was completed, residents were able to queue up and take buses back.
Shana Dam went to see the remains of her parents’ house.
“It’s gone,” she told the Fort Myers News Press. “It’s just gone.”
Even navigating the island on which most of Fort Myers Beach resides is difficult due to storm debris, but heavy equipment was used to clear the road.
There are hand-made signs throughout the area warning looters to be shot by homeowners, and Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said only nine such thefts have been reported.
Ian was a high-end Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) upon landfall and was the third to hit the continental United States this century, after Hurricane Katrina, which killed nearly 1,400 people, and Hurricane Hurricane. It was a deadly storm. Sandy recorded a total of 233 deaths despite being weakened by a tropical storm just before making landfall in the United States.
State officials have so far reported 94 storm-related deaths in Florida, most in Lee County, which includes the Fort Myers area and nearby Gulf Coast islands, including Estero.