Ron DeSantis Gives Update On Hurricane Damage As Death Toll Surges
Ron DeSantis
Photo: Florida Governor’s Office

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said Sunday that he spent time on the ground handing out food and surveying the damage that Hurricane Ian inflicted on the state late last week.

The update’s from the governor come as there have already been 76 confirmed deaths in Florida with entire communities completely wiped off the map from the massive storm surge and powerful winds.

The governor’s office noted that DeSantis suspended the state’s fuel tax to help ease the financial burden on residents and that he promoted debris removal in communities where it was deemed safe to return.

The governor’s office said that the 42,000 lineman working in the state have already restored power to nearly 2 million homes and that they were still working to restore power to another 800,000+ accounts.

As of Sunday morning, more than 1,600 rescues have been made by more than 1,000 search and rescue team members spread out over the 14 impacted counties.

“The National Guard and the Coast Guard are landing helicopters on barrier islands to perform search and rescue,” the  governor’s office said. “Following Governor DeSantis’ authorization, over 5,200 Florida Guardsmen have been activated to State Active Duty for Hurricane Ian response operations. The Florida National Guard are supporting a total of 152 active missions.”

Hundreds of pallets of water, food, and ice have already been delivered to local communities in need, inculding more than 829,000 MREs and 3.8 million bottles of water.

“Worked with Florida Baptist Relief to distribute food and water to residents of Naples,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter. “@CaseyDeSantis and I have been encouraged by the outpouring of prayers and assistance for Floridians in need. Keep up the good work!”

DeSantis shared on Twitter the moment that he met a local woman who had her home destroyed by the storm.

“Today, I met with Marta, who had her house destroyed and was rescued by one of our high-water vehicles,” DeSantis tweeted. “Damage from #HurricaneIan flooding extends across the state, but our people are resilient.”

Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane said on Sunday that he was disappointed that so many people got complacent with the storm and did not evacuate when they were supposed to.

“As soon as we saw the model shift northeast, we did exactly what we could to encourage people to” Ruane said. “I’m just disappointed that so many people didn’t go to shelters, because they’re open.”

“I think the most important thing that most people need to understand is we opened up 15 shelters. During Irma there were 60,000 people in our shelters. There’s 4,000 people in the shelters right now,” Ruane continued. “Unfortunately, people did get complacent … As far as I’m concerned, the shelters were open, they had the ability, they had all day Tuesday, they had a good part of Wednesday as the storm was coming down – they had the ability to (go to a shelter).”

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