Rescuers evacuated stunned survivors on a large barrier island cut off by Hurricane Ian and Florida’s death toll climbed sharply, as hundreds of thousands of people were still sweltering without power days after the monster storm rampaged from the state’s southwestern coast up to the Carolinas.
Florida, with nearly four dozen reported dead, was hit hardest by the Category 4 hurricane, one of the strongest to make landfall in the United States. Flooded roadways and washed-out bridges to barrier islands left many people isolated, amid limited cellphone service and a lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity and the internet, reports The Associated Press.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that multibillionaire businessman Elon Musk was providing some 120 Starlink satellites to “help bridge some of the communication issues.” Starlink, a satellite-based internet system created by Musk’s SpaceX, will provide high-speed connectivity.
Florida utilities were working to restore power. As of Saturday night, nearly 1 million homes and businesses were still without electricity, down from a peak of 2.67 million.
At least 54 people were confirmed dead: 47 in Florida, four in North Carolina and three in Cuba.