Story by Ellie Youngs, News Editor
On Sept. 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian took its path of destruction in western Cuba and southeast Florida. Two days later, it began claiming authority in South Carolina as well. This Category 4 hurricane was the second major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season and has become the fifth strongest hurricane to land in the United States. As a result of this hurricane, over one million Floridia, South Carolina and Cuban residents have been left without power and clean water. This hurricane is the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, and at least 140 lives have been claimed, leaving families and communities devastated.
The damage that has been done will take copious amounts of work to fix. According to local officials, the damages caused by Ian are estimated to be over $67 billion. Most of the damage was caused by flooding, which the cities of Fort Myers and Naples were hit especially hard by. Homes and businesses were left unrecognizable, and essential infrastructure like bridges and roads were destroyed as well. Search and rescue efforts were carried out for weeks following the first appearance of the hurricane, and now that the storm has calmed down, housing, electricity and food are sparse.
Since Ian landed in Florida, hundreds of volunteers from the Red Cross have come and are still seeking donations to help those impacted. President Biden explained how the destruction caused by Ian could be some of the most severe destruction the country has seen; because of this, he approved a major disaster declaration for Florida, allowing federal aid to the state. This declaration will provide individual assistance and debris removal and 100% direct federal aid to cover costs associated with search and rescue, sheltering, feeding and other emergency resources. Nearly 44,000 utility workers from 33 states and the District of Columbia are supporting restoration efforts as well.
While for many communities in the power may be restored, the damages done by Ian are far from fixed, and local officials and community members are still trying to alleviate the stress caused. While government officials are working to help these communities mend what has been broken, there is still room for help from citizens all over the country as well. Volunteers from neighboring states have flooded in to provide food, supplies and support.