Authorities are reporting that at least 81 people in Florida are dead after Hurricane Ian slammed the coast last week.
In North Carolina, the storm caused the deaths of four other people. The death toll is expected to continue to rise.
Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, causing widespread damage and knocking out electricity.
In Florida, the death toll included 42 in Lee County, 23 in Charlotte County, five in Volusia County, three each in Collier and Sarasota counties, two in Manatee County, and one each in Hillsborough, Lake and Hendry counties, according to ABC News.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said that more than 700 people were rescued in the county.
Four-star general and National Guard head Daniel Hokanson told the Associated Press that more than 1,000 people were rescued from flooded areas along Florida’s southwestern coast alone.
Meanwhile, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell has said in a statement that the agency will provide relief to “all communities” after Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that the Biden administration believes aid should be distributed “based on equity.”
“We’re going to support all communities,” Criswell said on CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday. “I committed that to the governor; I commit to you right here that all Floridians are going to be able to get the help that is available to them through our programs.”
Last week, Harris spoke at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum, saying, “it is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making.”
“And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place,” Harris said.
The White House says President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Florida on Wednesday to visit the state.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Win McNamee/Staff
Samaritan’s Purse is aiding with relief efforts in hard-hit Floridian communities. Donate to help the victims of Hurricane Ian here: https://samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/hurricane-ian
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.