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Hurricane Ian

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Hurricane Ian makes landfall into South Carolina, after ripping through Florida and leaving a trail of death and devastation. From NBC News:

At least 12 people have died after Hurricane Ian tore across Florida with such ferocity that President Joe Biden said it could be the deadliest in the state’s history.

Speaking after a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials Thursday morning, Biden said that while the death toll remained unclear, early reports suggest the loss of life could be “substantial.”

“I spoke with the commissioners, and they are worried,” he said.

As of Thursday evening, 12 people had been confirmed dead in the storm, with seven of them in Charlotte County, an area near the stretch of the southwest coast where Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, North Carolina emergency response officials are facing criticism from state lawmakers over the slow pace of reconstruction in areas devastated by Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018. AP Dillon at North State Journal reports:

On the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Florence landing on North Carolina’s shore, a legislative subcommittee met to find out why many hurricane victims still have not been made whole.

The 15-member Hurricane Recovery panel is a subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Commission on Government Operations. The formation of the subcommittee and its members were announced in July.

Hurricane victims Willie Williams and his wife Geraldine, both disabled veterans with medical issues, both became emotional at times while relating their situation to lawmakers.

Hogshead’s presentation showed 4,100 applications taken since federal funds were received, but only 789 projects have been completed.

According to her testimony, NCORR’s current rate of construction is between five to six houses per month. Hogshead indicated the rate in 2020 was twenty-eight a month but following the pandemic in 2021 that rate dropped to fourteen a month.

She added that around 1,100 applicants are currently either waiting to find a contractor willing to do the work or for work to begin. Additionally, 294 applicants are still living in temporary housing situations such as hotels or rental properties.

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