Hurricane Ian leaves devastated Florida in its wake

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L&rsquo ;Hurricane Ian leaves devastated Florida in its wake

Two men try to return to their home by boat, Saturday, in Florida, after the passage of Hurricane Ian.

The death toll continues to rise in Florida after Hurricane Ian killed at least 44 people in the southern US state and is expected to dissipate overnight Sunday. .

There are now 44 deaths attributed to Hurricane Ian, the Florida Department of Forensic Medicine said. Most by drowning and in their vast majority elderly people.

President Joe Biden and his wife Jill are due to visit the state on Wednesday to see the damage caused by this hurricane, according to the White House. They will travel Monday to Puerto Rico, devastated in September by Hurricane Fiona.

Lee County, heavily hit by Ian, has recorded 35 deaths alone, according to its sheriff, while US media, including NBC and CBS, have recorded more than 70 deaths directly or indirectly related to the storm.

The controversy swelled on Saturday around the late arrival of the evacuation order for the more than 600,000 inhabitants of this county, which accounts for half of the confirmed victims.

It is still difficult to draw an accurate picture of the situation in Florida after the passage of Hurricane Ian. The death toll continues to grow and some major American media speak of at least 70 dead. The search for survivors continues. Explanations by Jean-S├ębastien Cloutier

The order would have been given on Tuesday morning, when neighboring counties asked their inhabitants to evacuate on Monday, says the New York Times.

Sitting in the shade of a deserted house in Matlacha, Chip Farrar grows exasperated. Nobody tells us what to do. No one tells us where to go, he told AFP.

Evacuation orders came very late, says the 43-year-old. But most of the people who are still there wouldn't have left anyway. It is a very working place. And most people have nowhere to go, that's the biggest problem, he adds.

At the same time, research continued for find 16 passengers from a migrant boat that capsized due to bad weather on Wednesday near the Keys.

Coastguards say they found two people from that boat dead in the water, with nine others rescued either offshore or after swimming to shore.< /p>

Hurricane damage is enormous.

After ravaging Florida, Ian headed for South Carolina, where it made landfall on Friday afternoon near Georgetown as a Category 1 hurricane, with winds blowing up to 100 mph. at 140 km/h, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

More than 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida as of Saturday night.

On Saturday afternoon, Ian was carrying winds of up to 35 km/h with still heavy rain over the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern United States, the NHC said in its latest bulletin.

Despite its expected weakening, the authorities of several States still called on the population to be cautious due to the heavy rainfall expected.

More than 500,000 homes and businesses were without power Saturday at midday in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the specialized site poweroutage.us.

Florida still had nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses without electricity.

In the peninsula, in addition to the heavy human toll, the material damage is historic, the level reached by the rise in sea levels having been unprecedented, according to Governor Ron DeSantis.

In this state, we are just beginning to see the extent of the destruction, likely to rank among the worst in US history, President Joe Biden said.

It will take months, years to rebuild, he lamented.

A person repairing an electric pole.

In the coastal town of Fort Myers, called the epicenter by Ron DeSantis, a handful of restaurants and bars had reopened and dozens of people were seated on terraces, offering residents a semblance of normality between broken trees and facades destroyed.

It was pretty terrible, but we held on. The roof of our house was blown off, a large tree collapsed on top of our cars, our garden was flooded, but other than that it's fine, says Dylan Gamber, 23, congratulating himself on the solidarity that reigned between neighbours.

According to initial estimates, the passage of Hurricane Ian could cost insurers tens of billions of dollars and will weigh on American growth, in particular due to flight cancellations and damage to agricultural production. .

More than 1,100 people have been rescued in the state so far, Gov. Ron DeSantis' office said Saturday morning.

The devastation could cost insurers tens of billions of dollars.

According to an initial study rapid release by US scientists released on Friday, rains linked to Hurricane Ian have increased by at least 10% due to climate change.

Climate change didn't cause the hurricane, but it did make it wetter, said one of the scientists involved in the study, Michael Wehner of the Department of Health's Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory. #x27;Energy.

Before Florida, Ian had hit Cuba, killing three people there, causing extensive damage and leaving many homes without power.

In September, it was Puerto Rico that suffered damage, caused by the passage of Hurricane Fiona. The presidential couple are due to go there on Monday.

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