‘Help is on the Way’: More than 2.5 Million Without Power as Trapped People Call 911

September 29, 2022 Updated 11:47 AM ET

Source: Gov. DeSantis Office
Source: Gov. DeSantis Office

FLORIDA (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis said help is on the way for those who have called 911 to escape rising floodwaters resulting from Hurricane Ian’s pummeling of southwest Florida.

Many local officials in areas such as Lee County could not send help out until the sustained winds dropped below 45 miles per hour. In the meantime, DeSantis said officials logged and prioritized the calls.

“And so they have a pretty good sense of where those calls were coming from,” DeSantis said. “And they’re focusing their rescue efforts on those areas that were most hard hit.”

Search and Rescue Teams Sent to Southwest Florida Barrier Islands

Poweroutage.us reports that more than 2.6 million customers are without power. He noted how Lee and Charlotte counties are “basically off the grid” and will most likely need the “rebuilding of that infrastructure.” There are 100 portable cell towers being deployed to southwest Florida.

“We do have a huge amount of resources that are in route and are going to work to get people’s power on as quickly as possible,” DeSantis said.

About 100 engineers were sent on site to do bridge inspections so they can be reopened. The governor said several bridges including the one to Sanibel Island and Pine Island Bridge are not passable.

The governor received a Major Disaster Declaration for nine counties including Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardy, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota.

DeSantis said he will be asking for the declaration to be expanded. He noted how the storm will have “broad impacts” across the state as areas in central Florida face rain and flooding.

The governor has been granted 100% federal assistance for Category A and B upfront for 30 days to help move forward in the response and recovery efforts.

For those who need help and qualify, visit fema.gov or call 1-800-621-3262.

DeSantis suggested people take a picture of the water line in their homes to receive assistance faster.

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