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Hurricane Ian has been one of the most devastating tropical storms to ever hit the United States and has left hundreds of thousands of Floridians without power, food, and clean water. The state and federal governments, as well as charitable organizations, have quickly mobilized to help the people of Florida. Read below for an update on Hurricane Ian damage and the response to it.
Estimated damage numbers
According to analytics firm RMS, Hurricane Ian likely caused between $53 billion and $74 billion in private insured losses, with best estimates pointing to a figure of roughly $67 billion. If these statistics are accurate, Ian could easily be the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history. Last year’s Hurricane Ida is currently the most expensive Florida hurricane on record, but its estimated $36 billion in insured losses seems almost tame compared to the estimations for Ian.
Notably, these figures only take into account losses sustained by private entities that are eligible for an insurance claim, so the number effectively outlines how much money insurance companies have had to shell out due to the hurricane. When damages to government property and uninsured private property are taken into account, the actual toll could still be much higher.
As of Saturday, October 8th, the federal government had disbursed more than $150 million in disaster assistance to the people of Florida and particularly Fort Myers.
Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), federal aid programs and volunteer food kitchens have already fed hundreds of thousands of meals to those affected by the hurricane. FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program has provided insurance coverage to many individuals, families, and small businesses to help them rebuild.
The state of Florida has also implemented a variety of initiatives to help its citizens recover from the hurricane. Hurricanes are no new phenomenon in Florida, so these systems are well-developed and prepared to take care of things as quickly as possible. The state has deployed highway patrol officers to transport linemen to areas of the state where power outages are occurring and has sent “cut and toss” crews to clear roads throughout the state.
Theft and other crime
As has happened in the wake of previous hurricanes, especially 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, theft and other crimes have seen a huge spike in the aftermath of the storm. One notable case was in Fort Myers last week, where six men were arrested for stealing luxury shoes and other goods from an outlet mall after posing as volunteers helping with cleanup.
The next day two men were arrested, also in Fort Myers, as they were caught stealing items from in front of a store and moving them into their trailer. Fort Myers received the worst the storm had to offer, so the county police department is hard at work trying to protect its citizens while in this vulnerable position. Authorities may prosecute thieves heavily during this time.