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Florida islander digs out of Ian’s destruction

st.James City, Florida – Surrounded by Destruction of Hurricane Ianmany residents of an island in Florida have been home for days without electricity or other resources while hoping the only bridge to the mainland will be repaired.

Pine Island, the largest barrier island off the Florida Gulf Coast largely cut off from the outside worldA severe storm damaged the island’s causeway, leaving the town accessible only by boat or aircraft.

Leslie Arias, a resident of Pine Island, said after seeing the small motorboats carrying water and other necessities, “If we leave the island, no one will fix our roads in and out.” As a community, we feel that we cannot solve this problem.”

A temporary bridge spanning the damaged portion of the causeway will be ready Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. By Wednesday night, traffic was restricted to official vehicles only.

The governor spoke while visiting Matlacha, a community on a small island that spans about five miles (8 kilometers) of causeways. On Tuesday, an orange excavator could be seen scooping up a bucketful of dirt into the wide gap where the island meets a cement bridge. Nearby, part of the damaged building was submerged in water.

Debris and piles of rubble have replaced many homes on Pine Island. Power lines and their wooden poles litter the gardens and roads.

At 17 miles (27 km) long, the island is larger than Manhattan, but is mostly rural with no streetlights or sandy beaches, according to island civic groups. Home to about 9,000 residents year-round, the population doubles hers between Christmas and Easter.

Jay Pick, who has been on the island since May to help his in-laws, had the roof of his house blown off by the wind from Ian.

“But we are all safe,” Pick said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re blessed. It gives us that survivor guilt when we look around at what some people have compared to what we’ve left behind. We try not to.” I try to be happy with what we’re left with.”

It’s been a week since the Category 4 storm hit, but the full extent of the destruction across southwestern Florida is still in the spotlight. Power company workers called for power to be restored on Wednesday. The crew searched for those still trapped inside flooded or damaged houses,

The number of storm-related deaths has risen to at least 98 in recent days, 89 of them in Florida. Several drownings were among the new deaths reported by coroners across the state on Wednesday. One 82-year-old man died after being evacuated without taking medicine. In Lee County, Florida, which was hit hardest, most of the hurricane deaths were over the age of 50.

Five more died in North Carolina, three in Cuba, and one in Virginia. Ian landed on a Caribbean island September 27th, the day before arriving in Florida. The hurricane blew across Florida and into the Atlantic before making landfall in South Carolina before slamming into the mid-Atlantic states.

Biden toured some of Florida hurricane affected area We surveyed the damage by helicopter on Wednesday and walked with DeSantis on foot. Democratic presidents and Republican governors have pledged to put aside political rivalries to help rebuild homes, businesses and lives.

At a briefing with local officials, Mr. Biden stressed that the effort would take months or years.

“The only thing I can guarantee is that we will be here until the federal government is done,” Biden said.

Fort Myers general contractor and registered Republican Jeff Liou welcomed the president’s visit.

“The world needs to see what happened here,” said Rioux, mopping floors and tearing up soaked drywall from his flooded home. “At some point, politics has to be put aside. People are suffering here. It’s not right or left, it’s America after all.”

At a briefing earlier in the day, DeSantis praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with local and state governments, and said the coordination was extraordinary.

Referring to previous hurricanes, Mr. DeSantis said, “From a local, state coordination and FEMA standpoint, perhaps more bureaucracy is holding us back on this than any other hurricane I’ve ever seen. was less.

The governor also said running water has been restored in many of the affected areas.

Lee County has been without water since the hurricane passed. But state emergency management chief Kevin Guthrie said Wednesday that all 13 water plants in the county are distributing water.

Back on Pine Island, small motorboats were the only way to get supplies since the storm hit. Told.

“We are currently gathering a lot of resources, not just donations, but volunteers,” said Arias. “It’s great to see how the community has come together. Every corner of the island… families and neighbors helping other neighbors.”


Associated Press reporters Brendan Farrington of Tallahassee and Kurt Anderson and Bobby Kaina Calvin of Fort Myers, Florida contributed to this report.


For more information on Hurricane Ian, please visit: https://apnews.com/hub/hurricanes

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.ksat.com/news/national/2022/10/05/floridas-island-dwellers-digging-out-from-ians-destruction/ Florida islander digs out of Ian’s destruction

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