The death toll from Hurricane Ian climbed past 80 on Sunday as embattled residents in Florida and the Carolinas faced a recovery expected to cost tens of billions of dollars, and some officials faced criticism over their response to the storm, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The death toll was expected to keep rising as floodwaters receded and search teams pushed farther into areas initially cut off from the outside world. Hundreds of people have been rescued as emergency workers sifted through homes and buildings inundated with water or completely washed away.
At least 85 storm-related deaths have been confirmed since Ian crashed ashore Florida's Gulf Coast with catastrophic force on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour).
Florida accounted for all but four of the fatalities, with 42 tallied by the sheriff's office in coastal Lee County, which bore the brunt of the storm when it made landfall, and 39 other deaths reported by officials in four neighboring counties.
Officials in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Cape Coral and is on the Gulf Coast, have faced questions over whether they mandated evacuations in time.