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Biden calls Hurricane Ian in Florida ‘deadliest’ in state’s history

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FLORIDA, USA - An aerial view of flooded and damaged area where boats wash ashore aftermath of hurricane in Florida, United States on September 29, 2022. (Lokman Vural Elibol - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 29, 2022 - 10:44 PM

WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Joe Biden said Thursday that Hurricane Ian, which brought flooding and destruction to Florida, “could be the deadliest” in the state’s history.

“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life,” Biden said from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters.

The storm left Florida on Thursday after making landfall as a devastating Category 4 hurricane.

Widespread catastrophic damage has been left in much of southwestern Florida as 2.6 million people continue to lack power and thousands remain stranded. Governor. Ron DeSantis has issued a dire assessment, saying Ian devastated critical infrastructure and homes, leaving enormous work ahead as the state prepares to rebuild.

“My message to people of Florida — when the country is at times like this, America comes together. We’re going to pull together as one team as one America,” said the president.

Biden warned residents in the affected areas to obey warnings and directions from emergency officials and not to go out while water is receding.

In remarks, he again warned oil and gas companies of hiking the price of gas.

“Do not, do not, do not use this storm as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American public,” he added.

Ian is in the Atlantic Ocean as it strengthens once again, with meteorologists warning it will again become a hurricane before making landfall Friday in the state of South Carolina, according to the National Weather Service. A hurricane warning has been issued for the southern state’s entire coastline.

Earlier, the sheriff of Florida’s Lee County, home of Fort Meyers and Cape Coral, said he “definitely” knows the death toll will reach the hundreds as authorities continue to struggle to reach those who have been left stranded by Ian’s devastation.

“There are thousands of people waiting to be rescued,” Carmine Marceno told the ABC News’ Good Morning America program. “We can’t access people. That’s the problem.”

Marceno later confirmed to CNN that officials have confirmed five fatalities.

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