Hurricane Ian Death Toll Continues to Climb as Search-and-Rescue Continues

The death toll from Hurricane Ian climbed to 54 on Sunday, with 47 confirmed deaths in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba, the Associated Press reported.

The death toll from the category four hurricane that hit Florida on Wednesday is expected to rise as search-and-rescue operations continue and the water recedes. At its peak, 2.67 million people were without power, according to Axios, and nearly 850,000 people are still stranded without access to water, electricity or the internet, the AP reported.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is working with billionaire Elon Musk to revive internet access for Floridians, DeSantis said in a press conference.

The majority of the deaths in Florida were caused by drowning, but some came from the storm’s aftereffects, including an elderly couple dying when the electricity shut off and they lost power to their oxygen machines.

Two out of the four people in North Carolina died from storm-related car accidents, Axios reported.

“We’re still actively in the search and rescue phase, trying to make sure we’re accounting for everybody that was in the storm’s path and that we go through every home to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, according to the outlet.

President Joe Biden announced Sunday he would be traveling to Florida “this week” to visit families who were impacted by Ian.

“More than 2,300 people and 150 pets have been rescued by federal and state coordinated search and rescue teams,” the White House said in a statement, adding that to date, 17 approved counties have been approved for Individual Assistance and Debris Removal as part of Biden’s Expedited Major Disaster Declaration for Florida. 

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