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Florida officials: Ian’s catastrophic damage will take years to repair

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Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2022. 9:59 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Category 4 Hurricane Ian ravaged Florida on Wednesday causing widespread power outages, catastrophic winds throwing debris, and dangerous storm surge.

Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency, ABC reports.

More than 8,000 people were hosted in 47 shelters across Hillsborough county.

“Residents whose homes have been damaged are encouraged to find a safe place to stay. That place might be with family, friends, or at a nearby hotel,” the county said in a statement.

Officials say that members from the search and rescue team of the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been out in the field since 4 a.m. today.

 FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said that the agency will prioritize saving lives and helping people impacted by the storm, who may be trapped.

Criswell said FEMA has been hearing reports of people calling 911 through the night and will use the information it has gathered in those hours to prioritize rescues in harder-hit areas.

“This has been just a catastrophic storm and it’s left significant damage in its path,” Criswell said.

“Water is dangerous. Even though the storm has passed, the water that is there is still dangerous. There’s debris, there are chemicals, and there could be downed power lines. People need to be careful, they need to stay vigilant,” Criswell added.

Governor DeSantis says that the devastation is like a 500-year flood event.

“The amount of water that’s been rising and will likely continue to rise today, even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flood event. And I know Seminole County has done evacuations, I know they’ve opened shelters, but we’re gonna see a lot of images about the destruction that was done in southwest Florida, and obviously, we have massive assets there,” DeSantis said.

The damage caused by the storm will likely take years to repair and rebuild, he said.

 

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