Less than two weeks after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on Florida, particularly the western coast, Gov. Ron DeSantis reported that more than 99% of the state's residents have had their power restored.
"... Residents now have access to return to Fort Myers Beach. Everyone needs to be able to return to their property," DeSantis announced on Saturday, via social media.
"Thank you to everyone involved with re-establishing access to this community, and we are working to get this area fully restored," added DeSantis.
The governor's announcement took place at one of the most battered areas from the destruction of Hurricane Ian.
During his on-site press conference, DeSantis stated: "Obviously here, you suffered catastrophic damage in Fort Myers Beach and there was a premium on rescue efforts and rightfully so. ... Those efforts were ongoing and continue to go on. But we also have a situation where you have a lot of people who left their homes and they want to know when they can get back.
"I know there's some people that are gonna have really significant damage. Some will have total loss. Some may have damage that they're willing to live in their house for and if it's safe, you know, obviously they have a right to do that," said DeSantis.
The next phase of recovery efforts could be similarly daunting, acknowledged DeSantis.
"The issue is really gonna be getting the debris removed, making sure you can clear the area and then seeing the homes that can even accept power or not because if the home was damaged enough, it may not be able to accept power without there being some additional renovations to the home," said DeSantis.
"We had the storm exit the state of Florida on Thursday evening of last week. And so here we are now Saturday, over a week after the storm finally left the east coast of Florida, and you basically have over 99% of Floridians with power other than some of the LCEC [Lee County Electric Cooperative] pockets.
"All the places that can be restored without having a major rebuild at this point have effectively been restored," added DeSantis.
As Newsmax chronicled last week, Hurricane Ian could end up as one of the deadliest storms in Florida's history, with authorities confirming 72 deaths at that point.
The Washington Post reports the Ian death toll has already eclipsed Hurricane Andrew, circa 1992, which killed 65 people.
In 1935, a Labor Day hurricane, and Category 5 storm, resulted in the deaths of 408 people, according to the National Hurricane Center.
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