Hurricane Ian death toll climbs to at least 100

Coastguard suspends search for 16 migrants who went missing before storm made landfall in Florida

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The death toll from Hurricane Ian has climbed to at least 100 as parts of the south-eastern US begin to take stock of the damage caused by the storm.

One hundred people were killed in the state of Florida, which bore the brunt of the storm when it made landfall last week as a Category 4 hurricane.

Officials in Lee County reported 54 deaths, while the storm has also been linked to 24 deaths in Charlotte County, eight in Collier County, five in Volusia County, two in Manatee County and three in Sarasota County.

Four other counties in the state reported one death each.

The death toll is expected to continue to rise as search teams gain access to areas cut off by floods.

No deaths were immediately reported in South Carolina, where Ian made a second landfall on September 30.

In North Carolina, four people died because of the storm, Governor Roy Cooper said.

Three hurricane-related deaths were confirmed in Cuba last week.

The US Coast Guard announced it had suspended its search for 16 migrants who went missing last week before Ian made landfall.

“America’s heart is literally breaking,” President Joe Biden said at the White House last week.

Mr Biden and his wife Jill Biden will travel to Florida on Wednesday to see the devastation in person, the White House said.

They flew to Puerto Rico on Monday to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona.

Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), said the US government was ready to provide significant help, with a particular emphasis on Florida, where floods have stranded many of the state's residents.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that damage from floods could be a more difficult problem to solve than wind damage.

“This was a massive, slow-moving storm that dumped a historic amount of water on our communities,” Mr DeSantis said from the city of North Port.

More than 1,600 people across the state have been rescued so far, his office said.

Many people in the state were left stranded after roadways and bridges were washed out.

Florida officials said that residents in several other areas would continue to have limited mobile service and a lack of water, electricity and internet because of the massive flooding.

About 600,000 Florida homes and businesses remained without power on Monday morning, down from 2.6 million last week, PowerOutage.us reported.

Florida aims to have 95 per cent of power restored by Sunday, energy provider Florida Power and Light said.

Updated: October 03, 2022, 9:18 PM
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