Residents allowed to return to Florida island that was slammed by Hurricane Ian

Residents were allowed to return to a coastal island that had been destroyed by Hurricane Ian With the governor’s warning on Saturday that the disaster is not over.

Many of the homes still standing on Estero Island lack basic services, so portable restrooms, hand washing stations, shower trailers and other essentials were trucked in for residents who want to stay, Governor Ron DeSantis told a news conference. Told. Debris still has to be removed before reconstruction can begin.

“There’s a lot more to do, and in fact some of the toughest things are still ahead of us,” DeSantis said.

While residents were initially allowed to return to the island after the storm, officials closed access to allow teams to finish the search for the wrecked building by building for potential victims. Once the work was done, residents lined up and were allowed to return to buses.

Shana Dam went to see what was left of her parents’ house.

“It’s gone,” she told the Fort Myers News-Press. “It’s just gone.”

tropical weather florida
Washing machines are seen inside a destroyed laundromat, on Estero Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Wednesday, October 5, 2022, a week after the passage of Hurricane Ian.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Getting around the island, much of Fort Myers Beach, is difficult due to storm debris, but heavy equipment was used to clear the roads.

Fort Myers Beach said it would begin allowing more residents to return to the island starting Sunday morning, CBS Fort Myers affiliate WINK reports. In a press conference on Saturday, the mayor of Fort Myers Beach said there was no water or electricity on the island, and there would be no garbage pickup. The fire department also said no structures are safe to enter at this time.

According to WINK, residents who wish to return to see the damage are expected to be back from the island by 7 p.m., when the overnight curfew will begin.

With hand-drawn signs all over the area warning that robbers would be shot by homeowners, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said only nine such burglaries had been reported.

Ian, a high end Category 4 hurricane With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) at landfall, it was the third deadliest hurricane to hit the mainland United States this century after Hurricane Katrina, which killed nearly 1,400 people, and superstorm sandyWhich had a total death toll of 233, despite weakening to a tropical storm just before the US landfall.

State officials have reported 94 hurricane-related deaths in Florida so far and most were in Lee County, which includes the Fort Myers area and the surrounding Gulf Coast islands, including Estero. CBS News has contacted the local sheriff and with its records confirmed at least 125 deaths – directly or in part – due to the hurricane in Florida.

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