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Fort Myers said the county acted “appropriately” by issuing evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Ian.

Washington – Mayor Fort Myers, Floridaone of the hardest-hit areas Hurricane Ian Last week, he defended the timing of an evacuation order issued by Lee County officials as the hurricane approached the southwestern part of the state, saying it “acted appropriately.”

“Hurricane season warnings start in June, so there’s a certain amount of personal responsibility here,” Mayor Kevin Anderson said in an interview with “Face the Nation.” The problem is that a certain percentage of people don’t heed the warning.

Lee County officials issued the first mandatory evacuation order Tuesday morning, 24 hours before Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida as a Category 4. The order also came after receiving calls from neighboring counties asking residents to leave Monday before an impending storm.

Hurricane Ian devastated the area, and CBS News found that at least 80 people died in Florida directly or indirectly from the hurricane. Of those, 42 were in Lee County and 23 were in Charlotte County. As of Saturday morning, U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said about 4,000 people had been rescued in Florida.

At Fort Myers, crews work 16 hours a day to restore electricity and water to local homes and businesses, Anderson said.

“Most of our damage was along the river and caused by flooding. I was in one of the worst hit areas east of town yesterday,” Anderson said. is intact and fine, but the older homes, which were built lower and did not comply with current regulations, suffered more damage, so having a solid and good building code is the key to this problem.”

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said FEMA’s focus was on helping those in Florida who felt the hurricane’s most severe effects.

“We have a lot of staff now, we have a lot of resources embedded throughout the state of Florida and we continue to prioritize saving as many lives as possible and getting immediate help. To those who need it most right now,” she told Face the Nation.

Criswell, who visited Florida on Friday and Saturday, said she saw widespread devastation from the storm with many homes “totally destroyed.”

“We will have the right personnel to provide temporary assistance right now, but in the long term we need to help these communities recover,” she said.

She said agencies managing relief for those affected will work with partners such as the Small Business Administration and the Housing and Urban Development Administration to help families and communities.

“We will work together on what these unmet needs are, what their long-term needs are, and dedicate resources and support to them in the temporary and long-term to bring back these communities. We’ll make sure we’re giving to the community…on their feet while they rebuild,” Criswell said.

Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott told Face the Nation that FEMA was a “good partner” when he worked with them as governor. But Congress may also have to provide emergency aid to help the state recover.

“We’ve made a commitment, we’re going to support our families, businesses, state and local governments, and as a federal government, we need to do our job,” he said. Now we have to monitor how we spend our money, so always make sure you know how you are spending your money.”

Scott said that after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, while he was governor from 2011 to 2019, the state updated its building codes to reduce the risk of damage from hurricanes. After this, he said, “We will learn that we must continue to improve our building codes.”

Criswell also said people who lost their homes in storms need to understand the risks as they begin to make decisions about rebuilding.

“With risks everywhere and damage occurring in the interior of the state, we need to ensure strong building codes and ensure that our properties can withstand our impacts. We need building codes,” she said, “seeing from these severe weather events.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hurricane-ian-fort-myers-mayor-kevin-anderson-lee-county-acted-appropriately-evacuation-orders/ Fort Myers said the county acted “appropriately” by issuing evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Ian.

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