CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said rescue teams deployed in Ian’s aftermath had already performed more than 1,900 rescues across Florida as of Monday, less than a week after the storm made landfall in Florida.
The governor, alongside Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle, spoke about the aftermath of Ian and the state’s response measures in Lee County on Monday at the Historic Cape Coral Pier.
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DeSantis said over 1,000 personnel went door-to-door to 65 different structures to check in on those living across the county in the days after Hurricane Ian ravaged the state.
“Those are mostly structures in the really hard hit areas, the barrier islands and the like,” DeSantis said. “Our Division of Emergency Management is continuing to bring large quantities of water, food and other substances in the area to help everybody get by.”
DeSantis added that eight points of distribution — or PODs — had been set up in Lee County to provide those impacted by the hurricane with needed food and water.
The governor also mentioned that, as of Monday afternoon, 95% of customers in Florida had power, with only 5% still in need of power restoration.
Melissa Seixas, the Duke Energy state president in Florida, discussed the number of outages during the conference. She said that as of 4 p.m. Monday, the company had restored power to over a million customers, leaving only 4,000 without service.
“It is our commitment that they will all have power by midnight tonight,” she said. “The only customers that may have some challenges is because they have damage to their homes.”
DeSantis said the Lee County Electric Cooperative had also updated its power restoration timeline from Oct. 23 to Oct. 8 for the non-barrier-island communities countywide.
Despite those figures, DeSantis said that much of southwest Florida is still struggling with power outages, especially in places like Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties.
He said that satellites are being positioned above southwest Florida to help with communications in these areas.
“Now, it’s time to bring all the resources to bear to help everyone here so that we can catch up in this area,” he said. “We have now either deployed or are in the process of deploying 375 of the Starlink Elon Musk internet devices to support internet access in the impacted areas.”
DeSantis also discussed temporary bridge repairs at Pine Island, adding that more than 130 Florida Department of Transportation trucks had been sent out to begin working on improving connections to the mainland.
“They’re offering evacuations for those residents, but most of them want to be on the island,” DeSantis said. “They just want to be able to go back and forth, so we’re going to do that.”
Eagle, who said he was from Lee County, then talked about the Florida disaster relief programs being offered to residents and businesses in the state.
“You can file for disaster unemployment assistance, and we know that a lot of people are without work through no fault of their own,” Eagle said. “We want to help you get through this gap. You can apply and be eligible until you can find gainful employment.”
Eagle also urged businesses who suffered losses to check out the disaster relief website to fill out the Damage Assessment Survey.
For those whose employment or business was impacted by the hurricane, click here to check whether you qualify for state assistance.
For those interested in donating to victims of Hurricane Ian, click here to visit the Florida Disaster Fund’s website.
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