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Search and rescue efforts underway in Florida after ‘catastrophic’ hurricane

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An aerial picture taken on September 30, 2022 shows the one access to the Matlacha neighborhood destroyed within the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida.

Ricardo Arduengo | AFP | Getty Images

Search and rescue efforts are underway in Florida after a devastating Category 4 hurricane made landfall Wednesday.

No less than 77 people have been confirmed dead and greater than 860,000 persons are still without power, based on NBC News. There’s “significant damage” along Florida’s west coast and plenty of homes in central parts of the state are still underwater, FEMA director Deanne Criswell told ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.

She said the road to recovery goes to be long.

“We’re still actively within the search and rescue phase, attempting to be sure that that we’re accounting for everyone that was within the storm’s path, and that we undergo every home to be sure that that we do not leave anybody behind,” she said.

Criswell said Hurricane Ian was “catastrophic,” and officials knew it could have a huge impact on Florida residents. Numerous federal and state search and rescue resources were staged and able to exit “immediately” after the storm, she said.

“They were out before daybreak on Thursday,” Criswell said. “They’re still there today.”

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida echoed that sentiment while addressing concerns over rebuilding mobile home parks in Florida and the necessity for potentially stricter constructing codes. He said those decisions must be decided by each county.

“You do not ever want these items to occur again,” he said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “I feel every county goes to have to have a look at that and say, ‘Does that make sense to their county.”‘

Commenting on overall recovery efforts, Scott addressed concerns within the property insurance market, noting that insurance fraud is hurting some corporations in Florida or discouraging others from conducting business within the state.

“You might have to have stricter constructing codes,” he said. “You might have to be sure that that you simply learn from every storm and on top of that you’ve gotten to be sure that there isn’t any fraud.”

President Joe Biden will visit Florida on Wednesday to fulfill with officials and assess storm damage, the White House announced Saturday.

He will even visit Puerto Rico as it really works to recuperate from Hurricane Fiona, which hit the island as a Category 1 storm in September.

“We’ll do the whole lot we are able to to get these communities back on their feet,” Biden said on Twitter.

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