The Florida governor's office has not yet been able to confirm reports from Lee County's sheriff that there were hundreds of deaths in his county from Hurricane Ian, as active search and rescue team efforts are underway, but Gov. Ron DeSantis will be giving updates when more information is made available, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez said on Newsmax Thursday.
"What I can tell you and what I can assure Floridians is that we have every asset, every resource available at our disposal," Nunez told Newsmax's "National Report." "Shortly after midnight, we had an urban search and rescue team that led the way, along with convoys, along with other task forces that will be doing search and active recovery efforts."
Meanwhile, some 2.5 million people are without electrical power, but more than 42,000 linemen are working to restore service.
"Our message to Floridians is to please, if you can, make sure you stay indoors," Nunez said. "There's a lot of danger out there, and downed power lines are always a concern … we're trying to get all the search and rescue assets deployed, whether it is by land, by sea or by air."
Further, the state had prepositioned more than a million gallons of water before the storm, and more is on the way, said Nunez.
"Our division of emergency management is managing all of the logistics in terms of making sure individuals have access to water, but these are things that are going to continue to evolve. As you know, the storm is still wreaking havoc, although not as a hurricane like it did in the southwest Florida area [when it was] a Category 4 approaching Category 5."
The storm is also creating challenges for Florida's East Coast, with flooding from historic rain levels, she said, but "we are ready. We have all the assets and resources available. We've been coordinating federal, state, and local assistance. Our biggest concern is the priority is the health and well-being of Floridians. We want them to stay safe."
Further, President Joe Biden has agreed to the major disaster declaration for specific counties, said Nunez, adding that she hopes that as the damage is surveyed, the same level of support will continue from the federal government.
"We do want to thank all those governors that have been working alongside Gov. DeSantis and [working] to deploy resources as well," she concluded.
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Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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