Recently, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) stepped forward to express that the damage from Hurricane Ian to the area of Florida’s Gulf Coast was a “character-altering event.”
While speaking during an appearance on “This Week” by ABC on Sunday, Rubio claimed that the buildings throughout the most strongly affected areas were outright flattened, and many more were made uninhabitable and would need demolishing. He also claimed that the damage would end up altering the economic character and nature of all of the areas affected.
“There are entire communities — Fort Myers Beach no longer exists,” explained Rubio to his co-anchor, Jonathan Karl. “I mean, it’ll have to be rebuilt. It’ll be something different… And even the structures that are standing — I was with the Coast Guard two days ago as we went overhead on it — even the structures that are standing have been damaged by water, probably uninhabitable and have to be razed.”
“Obviously, the human toll is still being calculated, and that — that has no price,” he went on. “It’s extraordinary and we fear that number will continue to rise.”
Rubio went on to state that one very popular tourist spot, Sanibel Island, is not cut off and is inaccessible due to the level of damage sustained by the bridges connecting it to the mainland.
“It’s not just the parts that were washed away, that entire bridge is structurally compromised potentially,” he stated. “So, it will have to be rebuilt and that will take a while.”
All the while, getting the remaining residents off the island has made itself the main priority for first responders carrying out rescue operations.
“This is a character-altering event,” explained Rubio. “It will change the character and the nature of these communities. They’ll be rebuilt, but you can’t rebuild something that is a slice of old Florida and bring it back. It will be something new, but it won’t be the same, and that’s the most heartbreaking part about it from an economic standpoint.”
This past Wednesday, Hurricane Ian crashed into the Gulf Coast of Florida at almost the strength of a Category 5 storm. As wind speeds broke the 150-miles per hour mark, the system was said to have tied for the fourth-strongest storm to ever make landfall against the state.
As of Thursday evening, Carmine Marceno, the Sheriff of Lee County, posted footage that highlighted the decimated neighborhoods and infrastructures along the coast. Streets and homes were flooded even as a few places still burned, structures along the beach were broken down to scraps, and entire sections of bridges were washed away outright.
This morning Sheriff Carmine Marceno took a tour of Lee County to begin assessing damage caused by Hurricane Ian.
We are devastated. Our hearts go out to every resident who is impacted. The Lee County Sheriffs Office is mobile and will stop at nothing to help our residents. pic.twitter.com/S4OsB8ajRv
— Carmine Marceno – Florida’s Law and Order Sheriff (@SheriffLeeFL) September 29, 2022