The number of dead in Hurricane Ian’s passage through Florida rose to 44, officials said Saturday, as the southeastern U.S. state assesses damage from one of the strongest storms to hit the country.
“There are now 44 deaths attributed to Hurricane Ian,” the District Committee of Medical Examiners said, reviewing the previous figure of 35 victims.
More than 700 people have been rescued from their homes and according to local authorities, many homes are damaged, increasing the risk of further disasters.
The hurricane, which hit Florida on Wednesday, lost strength on Saturday as it swept through the southeastern United States after also causing flooding in South Carolina.
As of Friday morning, about 10,000 people were missing, homeless or in places without power, said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
Ian made landfall in South Carolina Friday afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 90 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Then it became a posttropical cyclone.
Power was restored in Lee County, Florida around midnight Friday through Saturday. Many houses were only slightly damaged, but not all are over the mountain yet. Flooding continued to be a problem, main roads remained flooded in several places and those in residential areas were just as bad if not worse.
O The hurricane also caused devastating damage in Cuba on Wednesday. The country was completely without electricity, which was gradually restored. At least two deaths have been reported on the island so far. In addition, Ian caused destruction and flooding in various parts of Cuba. Around 38,000 people had to be evicted from their homes in Pinar del Río province.