FEMA chief: Floridians have experienced ‘absolutely catastrophic impacts’ from Ian
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell on Thursday said that residents of Florida are experiencing “absolutely catastrophic impacts” from Hurricane Ian.
“My heart is just breaking for the people in these communities right now, because they have experienced absolutely catastrophic impacts from this,” Criswell said in an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.”
“There’s parts of this community that have just been devastated.”
Criswell said that the hurricane has caused the most damage in Lee County, south of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The storm surge that went through the county interfered with its water system and jeopardized the lives of families who live in mobile homes.
FEMA has dispatched search and rescue teams to Lee County to assess the situation and learn where rescue efforts need to be focused.
Criswell added on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the agency is working with nine hospitals in the area to determine whether they will be evacuated if water cannot be restored to the buildings.
Asked by CNN’s John Berman about the numbers of casualties due to Ian, Criswell said: “I don’t think that we can quantify it yet, but I can tell you that it is going to be catastrophic.”
The hurricane previously killed two in Cuba and capsized a boat of 23 Cuban migrants south of the Florida Keys.