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Biden surveys hurricane-ravaged areas

US President Joe Biden has toured parts of the US state of Florida devastated by a hurricane that killed at least 84 people.

October 6, 2022
6 October 2022

US President Joe Biden has toured hurricane-ravaged areas of Florida, surveying storm damage by helicopter and encouraging local residents on foot alongside Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

The political foes pledged to put that rivalry aside and marshal federal, state and local help to rebuild homes, businesses and lives.

DeSantis and his wife Casey greeted the president and first lady Jill Biden as they arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf, where homes and business lay in ruins amid debris and muck after Hurricane Ian tore through last week.

Biden and DeSantis spoke by themselves next to a boat the storm had lifted into a cafe, then moved separately among local residents hit hard by the hurricane. 

Biden embraced one woman.

The scope of the devastation was immense. 

Biden’s motorcade drove by wind-shorn trees, some uprooted, others with branches pulled backwards by the storm. 

Fields off the highway were still flooded, forming stagnant lagoons. 

There were big, visible signs of damage to an Amazon warehouse and a Family Dollar store and one storage facility had its metal roof shredded.

Signs for stores and restaurants were blown out; ruined mattresses were piled in neighbourhood streets and a building was tipped to the side like a chess piece.

An armada of workers and repair trucks struggled with recovery.

Hurricane Ian has resulted in at least 84 people confirmed dead, including 75 in Florida, and many people still wait for power to be restored.

Ian’s winds and punishing storm surge last week took out power for 2.6 million in Florida. 

Many people still are unable to get food and water.

At a briefing with local officials, Biden emphasised that the rebuilding effort will take months or years.

“The only thing I can assure you is that the federal government will be here until it’s finished,” Biden said.

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