Hurricane Ian could have killed ‘significant’ lives, Joe Biden warns

“This may be the worst hurricane in Florida history,” he said during a visit to the offices of the federal agency that supports natural disasters. “The figures (…) are still unclear but we are getting initial reports of significant human losses,” he added.

“When conditions permit, I will go to Florida and personally thank the people involved in the relief and reconstruction efforts,” the US president said, explaining that he did not want to disrupt emergency operations. Asked if he would visit the island of Puerto Rico, which was hit by Hurricane Fiona, he said he would like to do so.

read more: Hurricane Ian creates ‘catastrophic’ flooding in Florida

Federal resources

The 79-year-old Democrat briefly responded to a question about her dealings with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “It’s about saving lives and homes, that’s it. I (…) spoke to him four or five times and it has nothing to do with our disagreements on other issues,” he assured.

Joe Biden pledged to use all federal resources needed for Florida: “We will rebuild with state and local officials. We will stay as long as it takes.” Despite weakening, Hurricane Ian continued its destructive course toward South Carolina on Thursday. It is expected to strengthen, and hit South Carolina on Friday. A hurricane regains strength when it makes landfall, then rapidly weakens again.

At least eight people have died

As images of streets turned into canals of murky water, boats tossed to the ground like simple toys, and broken homes flooded in, the United States discovered “historic” damage from powerful Hurricane Ian on Thursday. According to the state’s governor, it “devastated” some cities in Florida and, according to the last estimate, at least eight people died.

An official in Charlotte County, in the state’s west, confirmed to CNN that six people had died, but gave no further details. A spokesman for Volusia County, on the east coast, announced the “first death linked to Hurricane Ian,” a 72-year-old man who was reported to have “emptied his swimming pool during the storm.”

An official in Osceola County, in the state’s central east, told CNN of the death of a nursing home resident. At the same time, the search continued to find twenty passengers from a migrant boat that capsized near the Keys archipelago on Wednesday. “We’ve never seen flooding like this,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said.

read more: Widespread power outages in Cuba after Hurricane Ian

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