In Florida, not all areas had yet been reached by aid workers, but it was clear that the devastation in the state is enormous. The extent of the damage was not known but would certainly amount to tens of billions of euros. The greatest devastation would have been on the coast, where the combination of the gusts and the whipped waves of the ocean devastated entire areas.
When Ian hit Florida on Wednesday, it was a Category 4 hurricane and one of the strongest storms in recent US history. The storm was accompanied by wind gusts of 150 miles per hour and massive downpours. Trees were uprooted, buildings destroyed, bridges were swept away and houses and roads were flooded. Coastal cities such as Sarasota, Venice and Fort Myers were the hardest hit, but the damage is also extensive inland.
President Joe Biden and his wife plan to visit the affected area on Wednesday. On Friday, Biden spoke of what is believed to be the worst damage in US history. “We’re just beginning to see the scale of the devastation,” he said.
The death toll has continued to rise in recent days. In Florida, 47 people were killed, according to the AP news agency, and later in the states of South and North Carolina. Thousands of people would still be trapped in flooded houses. Rescue workers have been able to rescue some 1,000 residents from their plight, mostly by air. Nearly a million households were still without electricity on Sunday. Power was restored to more than a million others on Saturday.
On Friday and Saturday, the hurricane, which slowly weakened, swept across South and North Carolina, where wind speeds of up to 140 kilometers per hour were measured. The governor of South Carolina declared a state of emergency on Friday and warned citizens to stay indoors as much as possible. In those states too, power went out in many places, trees were uprooted and roads were flooded.
Neighboring Cuba was the first to be hit by Ian on Tuesday. As far as is known, three people were killed. There too, the destruction was enormous. Electricity was cut across the island, and the government had great difficulty getting the power back up and running. This to the anger of the population, who took to the streets on Thursday to demand that ‘the lights went back on’. The Cuban government sent The Wall Street Journal a rare request for financial aid to repair the damage to the United States. The American authorities had not yet made a decision, according to the newspaper.