Hurricane Ian

Zakary Robinette

Hurricane Ian’s flooding has caused a power outage for over two million residents and damage costs of up to 40 billion dollars. Coastal cities and communities could have up to 100 billion dollars. At least 21 deaths in Florida have been reported on the 30th; four deaths have also been reported in North Carolina. Kevin Guthrie, Florida’s division emergency management director, stated that more deaths could occur. Several areas of Florida have experienced intense flooding and destruction. President Biden stated that Hurricane Ian is a “substantial loss of life” and could possibly be one of the deadliest storms in Florida’s history. Currently, rescue teams are more focused on the coast and later plan to move more inland.

Sanibel Island is one of the most impacted areas in Florida, with flooding up to 15 feet. The island has also been cut off from the rest of Florida after the hurricane destroyed roadways connecting them. Many roads on the island itself have been cleared to aid relief efforts, but people are still struggling. A large portion of Sanibel Island is unlivable because so many buildings are unstable. Snakes and alligators have been located all around the island. The National Guard has placed Sanibel Island under a curfew and set up checkpoints to make sure people returning to the island are residents or business owners. The same is happening for nearby Pine Island, Florida’s largest barrier island.

Rescue missions have already started to help trapped residents and bring food and other supplies. Several Coast Guard aircrafts have been surveying areas to spot people in need of assistance; over 400 Army Corps engineers have been deployed to inspect the safety of buildings, roads, and bridges.

Many refugees from Hurricane Ian are now homeless and are left without money. “I don’t have enough money to replace my car and my house…. I got enough money to replace one or the other,” stated a refugee whose home and car were destroyed. As a result of the hurricane and due to Florida’s large population, the number of refugees is a heavy amount. Fort Myers’ population grew by 21% from 2010 to 2021. The World Kitchen is close to serving 40,000 meals throughout Florida. They have been serving food and water to refugees and hospitals. The Coast Guard stated that they have rescued over 1,000 people by helicopters and boats.

The CEO of Florida Power & Light, Eric Silagy, stated that around 1.2 million people had their power restored. The shortage of distribution transformers is making it harder to restore power to affected areas around Florida. Even with Hurricane Ian being in Florida, the storm knocked out some of Virginia’s power.

Much of Florida’s economy is based on tourism. The storm has damaged many of the large attractions, which will postpone tourism. The attractions are run by lower-wage workers; they will suffer because many could lose their jobs.

With all the aid in Florida, the state should recover within a few months, but nobody will forget what Hurricane Ian did to the state.