Hurricane Ian victims return to battered homes as death toll continues to rise


At least 132 people have died due to Hurricane Ian, according to local officials, as the death toll continues to climb more than a week after the powerful storm tore across Cuba and the eastern United States.

Search and rescue operations continue in Florida after Hurricane Ian devastated large portions of the state as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 150 mph. 

Hurricane Ian is now the second-deadliest storm in the continental United States in the 21st Century since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The deadliest hurricane ever to hit the U.S. was the Great Galveston Hurricane in Texas in 1900 that killed nearly 8,000 people.

Kathy Hickey, 70, carefully picks her way through debris from destroyed trailers in the mobile home park where she and her husband Bruce had a winter home, a trailer originally purchased by Kathy’s mother in 1979, on San Carlos Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, one week after the passage of Hurricane Ian. 
(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Florida

According to the Florida Medical Commissioner, there was at least 123 deaths reported in 15 counties across the state. 

Areas within Lee County, including Sanibel Island and Fort Myers, are facing major damage in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

“Unfortunately the death toll has risen to 59 total deaths” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a press conference on Thursday.

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Below is a list of storm-related deaths by county in Florida:

  • Lee County – 59 deaths
  • Charlotte County -24
  • Monroe County – 7
  • Sarasota County – 6
  • Volusia County – 5
  • Collier County – 5
  • Hardee County – 4
  • Manatee County – 3
  • Putnam County – 3
  • Polk County – 2
  • Hillsborough County – 1
  • Lake County – 1
  • Hendry County – 1
  • Martin County – 1
  • Osceola County – 1

In a press release, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that over 2,500 rescues have been made, as first responders continue to assist residents whose homes were demolished by the hurricane.

Damage from Hurricane Ian is seen on the causeway leading to Sanibel Island, background, from Fort Myers, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. 

Damage from Hurricane Ian is seen on the causeway leading to Sanibel Island, background, from Fort Myers, Fla., Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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North Carolina

Five people in North Carolina have died as a result of Hurricane Ian, Gov. Roy Cooper said on Tuesday in a press release. 

Four of five deaths in North Carolina involved traffic crashes. Three of the people who died were in Johnston County.

Virginia

Virginia State Police report 19-year-old Dylan B. Covington was driving outside of Lynchburg, Virginia, on Friday evening when the combination of gusty winds and heavy rainfall toppled a tree onto his car.

Troopers reported the driver was wearing his seatbelt but died at the scene.

People are seen wading through waist-deep water in Cuba after Hurricane Ian thrashed the western part of the country Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.

People are seen wading through waist-deep water in Cuba after Hurricane Ian thrashed the western part of the country Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.
(Getty Images)

Cuba

According to a report from the United Nations, three people died in Cuba from Hurricane Ian.

Damage assessments are still underway across the island nation, but an initial survey said more than 100,000 homes had been damaged or destroyed by the powerful hurricane.

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