Residents of Fort Myers Beach, Florida, were told they might have to wait months before they can return to their homes due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian.
Rescue teams over the weekend worked to find survivors of the storm on Estero Island, where Fort Myers Beach is located, which had a mandatory evacuation order for its roughly 5,600 residents that about 750 people did not follow, according to The New York Times.
"We're alive. That makes us luckier than some of our neighbors, and we're thankful," Fort Myers Beach resident Craig Ruke told the Miami Herald. "But we're tired, dirty and hungry. We have no running water. We're going to run out of food that hasn't rotted already. We're going to get dehydrated. Our cars are ruined. We haven't had any water or food delivered to the area. Everyone on this island is cut off."
Miami Fire Rescue and Florida Task Force 2 Public Information Officer Iggy Carroll noted that "People don't realize the scope of destruction until they emerge from their homes. Then they understand there's no way to sustain themselves here."
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy said this week that U.S. Army Reserve "teams are in there now doing the search and rescue. They have a number of sweeps that they have to make. They have a couple of teams, one starts at one end of the island, one starts at the other end, and they work towards the middle.
"Then those two teams are broken up into smaller teams that go street by street, checking under debris, hopefully finding live people, and unfortunately maybe not. So that's the process. The teams come down, they have the hasty search, they have these other searches, and then after that, they clear out these areas.
"And then we can move on from there. It's all on their timetable. So as soon as they are done with their work, then we come in after them."
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