Log in
Hurricane Ian in Florida - the aftermath

One confirmed death, 20 unconfirmed from Hurricane Ian; 1.9 million still without power in Florida


State emergency officials have confirmed one death in central Polk County, and 20 more deaths are being investigated following Ian’s devastation in Florida.

Meanwhile, 1.9 million homes and businesses are still without power, according to information from a news conference Friday morning.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak about the impacts of the storm at 11:30 a.m.

And FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell joined Gov. Ron DeSantis to update Floridians on the progress of recovery from the storm.

“What we have done prior to landfall is we did stage a lot of search and rescue resources to support the great efforts that have been happening here in the state of Florida. We have those resources available as the state needs it, and we’ve also begun to move in food and water into those points of distribution,” Criswell said at the news conference.

She noted:

“The president did declare a major disaster declaration for individual assistance as well as public assistance. Public assistance is going to allow us to reimburse a lot of the costs for the first responders who have been doing an amazing job, allow us to reimburse some of our overtime costs for all of the work that they’ve been doing to stabilize this incident. And on the individual assistance side, right now, there are 13 counties that have been designated for individual assistance, but we will add more.”

The state and federal officials did not offer information on the fatalities until prompted by questions from the media.

As to the 20 “unconfirmed” fatalities, that means the deaths have not yet been confirmed as storm-related or not, said the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Kevin Guthrie.

Guthrie reported that there have been 12 unconfirmed deaths in Charlotte County and eight in Lee County — areas where Hurricane Ian had been battering the southwest part of the peninsula.

“People die in disasters that have nothing to do with the disaster, right?” Guthrie explained. “So, the medical examiner is the one that makes that determination. They are the lead agency at the local level to determine when they investigate, that this is either disaster-related or not disaster-related.”

He said when a fatality is determined to be storm-related, there’s a determination of a direct or indirect death. Direct deaths include scenarios such as storm surges and rising water. Indirect would mean things such as operating a generator unsafely.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

Florida, Hurricane Ian, Florida Phoenix, Ft. Myers


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here