Many Hurricane Ian Survivors Struggle 100 Days After Impact

Some survivors are homeless.

SARASOTA, Fla. — It has been 100 days since Hurricane Ian hit the southwest coast of Florida with such ferocity that entire neighborhoods were destroyed. Many survivors are still struggling and are left homeless.

Charlotte Hinger was working at Sarasota Memorial Hospital when the Category 4 hurricane passed through the area. Hours after the storm, her family had to be rescued by boat from their home in North Port due to flooding. Since then, they have been living half an hour away in an AirBnB.

“It’s just really weird not having my own space and my own stuff, most of our stuff got ruined,” Hinger said.

In Lee County, Krystina Rivera said there was still a lot of debris piled up on roadsides and in front of homes. “We see a lot of construction work, but few people pick up debris,” she explained.

She rode out the storm at her apartment just outside of Fort Myers Beach. Rivera said the hardest part of the storm was losing her mother. It was a moment that changed his life forever. “It was the worst thing not to see our cars flooded or that we were in danger but I lost my mom,” Rivera said.

Rivera said the roof of his apartment complex was still covered in tarps. “It hasn’t even been 100 days, it feels like yesterday,” she said.

Ian sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h), it was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit southwest Florida. It then cut a watery, windswept swath across the Florida peninsula before heading out to sea to regain strength and strike South Carolina.

He killed more than 100 people, the majority of casualties in Florida, making it the third deadliest storm to hit the continental United States this century. Even a week after it passed, officials warned that more victims could still be found as they continued to inspect the damage. The storm knocked out power to 2.6 million people and caused billions of dollars in damage.

Research has shown that between a third and half of those who survive a disaster develop some type of mental distress, said Jennifer Horney, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Delaware who studies the impacts of natural disasters on public health.

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