Florida senator says Fort Myers Beach 'no longer exists’ after Hurricane Ian
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An entire town in Florida has been completely destroyed, a senator has claimed.
Since it struck last week, Hurricane Ian has battered the state's coastline, destroying homes and turning roads into rivers, with millions of people losing power.
Over 80 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the devastating storm, while 10,000 people remain unaccounted for.
Fort Myers Beach has been one of the worst hit regions of the state.
So badly damaged, senator Marco Rubio has revealed that it 'no longer exists'.
Speaking to ABC News, he said a major rebuild will be needed but it's unlikely the town ever be what it was.
"I don't think it has a comparison, not in Florida," Rubio said.
"Fort Myers Beach no longer exists.
"It'll have to be rebuilt. It'll be something different. It was a slice of old Florida that you can't recapture."
Yesterday (2 October), Fort Myers mayor Kevin Anderson came to the defence of Lee County officials after they were accused of being too slow to act in ordering evacuations on Tuesday (27 September) ahead of the storm, a day later than some other counties in the area.
He said: "Warnings for hurricane season start in June. So there’s a degree of personal responsibility here.
"I think the county acted appropriately. The thing is, a certain percentage of people will not heed the warnings regardless."
The National Hurricane Centre has said the storm was now dissipating across southern Virginia, but it has left a path of destruction in its wake.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan to visit the state on Wednesday (5 October).
Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the government was ready to help in a huge way, focusing first on victims in Florida, which took the brunt of one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the US.
Ms Criswell said it had also started to arrange the 'largest amount of search and rescue assets that I think we’ve ever put in place before' to supplement Florida’s resources.
"We worry a lot about the direct impacts from the storm itself as it is making landfall, but we see so many more injuries and sometimes more fatalities after the storm," she said.
"People need to stay vigilant right now. Standing water brings with it all kinds of hazards — it has debris, it could have power lines, it could have hazards in there that you just don’t know about."
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