Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) _Monitoring, Shocked Florida communities were only just beginning to face the full scale of the destruction on Saturday, with rescuers still searching for survivors in submerged neighbourhoods and along the state’s southwest coast.
Homes, restaurants and businesses were ripped apart when lan roared ashore as a powerful Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday.
The confirmed number of storm-related deaths rose to 44 statewide, the Florida Medical Examiners Commission said late on Saturday, but reports of additional fatalities were still emerging county by county – pointing to a far higher final toll.
Hard-hit Lee County alone recorded 35 deaths, according to its sheriff, while US media including NBC and CBS tallied more than 70 deaths either directly or indirectly related to the storm.
In the coastal state of North Carolina, the governor’s office confirmed four deaths related to Ian there.
Biden and his wife, Jill, will visit Florida on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted, but the couple will first head to Puerto Rico on Monday to survey the destruction from a different storm, Hurricane Fiona, which struck the US territory last month.
The community, home to about 800 people, was cut off from the mainland following damage to two bridges, and those who fled early were only just beginning to return home to survey the destruction.
More than 900,000 customers remained without power in Florida Saturday night.
More than 45,000 people remained without power across North Carolina and Virginia, tracking website poweroutage.us said Saturday.
As of Saturday morning, Governor Ron DeSantis’s office said more than 1,100 rescues had been made across Florida.
Aerial photos and video show breathtaking destruction in Sanibel and elsewhere.