The search for survivors after Hurricane Ian smashed through southwestern Florida continues. The death toll has reached 104, and the cost of the damage is estimated to be $60 billion.
Fort Myers Beach residents were warned that they may not be able to return to their homes, or what’s left of them, for months because of the devastation that hit the coastal community.
Decimated towns on the coast and homes underwater are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the catastrophic loss caused by the violent weather.
According to weatherman Cameron Hardin, residents on Fort Myers Beach could be homeless for months because it will take so long for authorities to sift through the wreckage of what is left.
There are almost 600,000 people still in darkness after the hurricane took out power lines.
It is believed that the majority of the deaths were by drowning in the midst of Hurricane Ian’s surge, as well as some vehicle and roofing accidents.
Officials said that Fort Myers Beach, a town of about 5,500 on one of the barrier islands of Fort Myers, was “90 percent” destroyed in the storm.
Craig Ruke lived on the island in a house on stilts. He told the Miami Herald, “We’re alive. That makes us luckier than some of our neighbors, and we’re thankful. But we’re tired, dirty and hungry. We have no running water. We’re going to run out of food that hasn’t rotted already. We’re going to get dehydrated. Our cars are ruined. Everyone on this island is cut off.”
Other residents described the horror as they watched homes with people still in them be carried away in the floodwater.
Recovery is expected to be slow and very difficult because of inflation, high-interest rates, and labor and materials costs.
The horror for these people will not end any time soon.