tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN October 1, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PDT
community near sarasota, a possible levee breech could push a 15-foot wall of water into the neighborhood. sarasota is just one of the many gulf coast communities still dealing with severe flooding. hurricane ian slamming southwest florida as a category 4 storm. the death toll now stands at 45. but that number could rise as crews reach areas that have been cut off because of the flooding. right now, the remnants of ian moving over the mid-atlantic states following friday's direct hit on the south carolina coast as a category 1 hurricane. now down to boris in hard-hit ft. myers. boris? >> reporter: fred, neighbors here are stunned at just is raw power of mother nature. i'm not sure how well you can see it behind me, but there are several vessels, five what appear to be commercial fishing charter sized vessels that were lifted from when they were here
in this marina in ft. myers and tossed onto the outside part of that bridge, just thrown around like debris, one of many scenes that we've seen here in ft. myers, an area of southwest florida that was devastated by hurricane ian and its nearly category 5 winds, just an enormous hurricane, but has affected the entire region of florida. as you noted, the search and recovery efforts are still ongoing, specifically in one part of sarasota county, where we understand that overnight there was a levee that was compromised, and we spoke to an official in that part of the state who said that overnight his teams were working to evacuate some 150 people. keep in mind, this storm made landfall in florida days, and there are still folks who are out there stranded. we want to send it over now to c
cnn's reporter in arcadia, florida, close to where this massive storm made landfall. nadia, we got an update from the sheriff of north point, florida, saying essentially while that levee was compromised they were able to get people out of that area in time, so there is no immediate danger to life. i'm wondering what updates you're getting about that levee and what you're seeing where you are. >> reporter: yeah. i think the concern, boris, is the aftermath of a storm and what do you do with all this water. the you would haven gotten that knock on your door in the morning telling you the levee had been compromised and they were asking people to evacuate, that sense of panic, that sense of trauma is what we've been talking to people about for the past couple days. you first have the storm, now you're dealing with survival. that's exactly what's happening here in de soto county. i'm in arcadia, florida. this is highway 70 right here. even though it definitely looks like a river behind me, i was speaking with a woman, linda,
she's lived in this neighborhood her entire life, and she got choked up when she started talking about hurricane ian because there's that trauma that she's remembering, she's reliving it every time she sees all this water and all of this destruction. so, to the left of your screen further back should be a camp ground, but you can see cars and rvs have been sucked out of the way, flowing now in whats the peace river. this river should only be about six or seven feet, right? the locals say they go canoeing on this very gentle river. now it has overtaken this major highway that the locals use to go from sarasota to the beach, sarasota, make your way down to ft. myers. now you can't. so they've split this town in half. you have one side of the town where people live, the other side of town is where you'll find a walmart, a publix, a gas station, all of the shopping and where people have their jobs. the only way to get there now is by boat. we spoke with a woman who talked
to us about how difficult it's been. take a listen. >> we don't know because we can't get over the bridge. from what we hear, it's up to the roof of the store over there on 70 and 72. and -- we're stuck. >> reporter: so, it's been so hard. she says her sister is on the other side. she's over here. all of this water isn't going anywhere anytime soon. so you have different boats that are coming by either by the county sheriff's office or by locals who are just helping people out, neighbors helping neighbors. that's what we're seeing. boris? >> that is so often what is inspiring and something that brings people together in the face of this carbon monoxide of e -- face of this kind of adversity, political differences, geographical differences put aside, folks coming together from out of the state to help those who need it most as we've seen with the
cajun navy. na nadia, thank you so much. we want to pivot to a different part of southwest florida, nape lgs, and that's where we find cnn's brian todd, who has been tracking the aftermath of this storm soon after it made landfall. brian, when we were speaking in the last hour, we were lamenting that alongside those who come to help, also come those who unfortunately try to take advantage of people at a desperate time, and you have been hearing from someone who feels directly talking to someone that might be labeled an an tunist opportunist trying to money from someone trying to help with a recovery process, right? >> that's right. this was a building manager down the street here who told me that there was a contractor who came. most of the contractors we have to say are honest people, doing good work, great work, and don't want to gouge people, but there are some who are opportunists and this building manager encountered someone who said how many units do you have that need
to be cleaned out? he was telling them and the contractor replied, if there aren't enough units here, i'm not going to do it. i'll go down the street where i can make more money. that's what you're running into here. it's unfortunate, but in the meantime, we can give viewers an illustration of the degree to which the recovery process is slow, messy, and incredibly hard work. first they've got to clear the debris like this off the streets to try to restore power and to get to people and to help them clear stuff out of their homes. what i can also tell you as we move around this pile, these piles just like this one of people, you know, just taking their possessions, some parts of their homes, this is an apartment complex, and putting it on the street to be picked up, these piles have grown in size almost exponentially since yesterday. coming in this morning in naples, we've noticed these piles have really built up. you have siding from a wall. you've got like a dresser drawer set over here. orlando and i are going to kind of move over here and show you other stuff that is being taken
out and put on the street. there's a toilet that had to be ripped out because it's no longer functional. you have whole settles of living room furniture here. there's a chaise longue over there, a lounge chair over here. this is what people have to do. they have to clean out their homes. you know, my team and i, talking to local people about this, we try to put ourselves at least in our emotional sense of what it's like, if it was you who had to do this, how would you feel? how would you know where to begin? i'm trying to relay that sense because we're encountering a lot of people going through that, boris, and i'm amazed continually at how stoic they are, how brave they are, and how resilient they are here. they're determined to just get what needs to be done, done, but a lot of the time you look at this and wonder if this was me, where would i start? so this is what people are up against here. >> brian, a lot of difficult questions that residents here find themselves asking this morning, many of them wondering when they can return home and ultimately what's going to be
there when they do, what this storm, hurricane ian, what it left behind. brian todd, thank you. we want to bring in our guest now. he is the atlantic area commander for the u.s. coast guard, vice admiral kevin lunday. obviously the coast guard continuing rescue operations days after the storm came through. vice admiral, we're grateful to have you sharing your bif us. we're wondering, what is the status of the search and rescue ert efforts right now? where do things stand? >> hi, boris. good to be joining you this morning. our active search and rescue continues. our highest priority remains saving lives in southwest florida, and now that ian has made landfall in charleston late yesterday, we're focused on responding to calls for rescue up in charleston and the south carolina area. in the last two days in florida, our coast guard crews have saved over 100 people and 88 pets,
mostly in lee county in the naples, sanibel island, and other areas of southwest florida that were greatest hit by ian as it cam ashore. we've been doing that from helicopter and small plug rescue boats. for all the lives we've helped and people we've saved, that's part of a broader effort in support of the state and local first responders, part of a federal-led agency. we're also focused on the reopening the bolts that are else in for getting life-sustaining commerce to people of florida. as of today, all ports in florida are reopened with the exception of ft. myers, and that's essential for food and fuel, other commodities, and jobs in florida. up the coast, we had our helicopters and flood rescue boats out and ready in the south carolina area after ian came ashore there, and we're responding to rescue calls as they come in.
so far we've only had one rescue that was late yesterday as ian was coming ashore near myrtle beach, about five miles offshore. there was a commercial fishing boat that was disabled. a coast guard helicopter out of savanna lowered a rescue swimmer and safely hoisted four people and brought them to safety, and that storm came ashore. we're still responding to calls there. as for the ports, port charleston is open this morning, ports of savanna and brunswick and we're working on moore held city and wilmington in north carolina open later today. >> we're incredibly grateful for your work. we know there are logistical challenges with getting folks the resources they need to expedite the recovery process but also saving lives. it's so inspiring. i'm always in awe of the incredible work that the coast guard does across the water fronts of the united states.
i'm wondering, though, as someone who has seen this kind of devastation before, perhaps not to this scale, how it makes you feel to see entire towns that appear to have just been washed away in southwest florida. >> well, boris, it's hard. our hearts go out tho those who have lost loved ones or lost everything. as we've seen from the images that you've been showing us and our crews have been seeing as they conduct these operations. these storms are devastating. we try and do the best to prepare for them, and there's a lot of information to help be prepared, but sometimes people are just not able to get out of the way fast enough and they're just impacted by it. i think for us, you know, these are communities in which our men and women, our families, communities in which we live and work. so the people we're helping out, much like the other first responders, these aren't strangers. they're our neighbors, people our children go to school with,
people we see in the store or we know very well. so it makes it even more difficult. but we know they're in need, and that's why the coast guard is there to hem along with other first responders. >> and you're so right about that, sir, the fact that this storm shifted at the last minute and intensified in a way that even those who were prognosticating what it might do didn't totally anticipate. for those folks that are trying to get back to their homes, the properties that they have worked, some their entire lives to build up and they see that devastation, what's your message to those who are getting back to these areas where everything is gone, where everything they worked for is now wiped away and they have to start over? >> boris, i know the desire to get back and check on your property and try and see what the damage might be. i think it's very important that
we listen to emergency managers, county and local level, and in the states. some of these areas don't have -- many of these areas don't have power, they don't have potable water. there's a lot of dangers in the area because of the debris, the damage you've been showing. so, i understand the desire to get back in the area as we have our own families that live in some areas, they're trying to get back as well. but we want to make sure they're heeding the advice of local and emergency managers on when it's safe to go back to those areas. >> yeah. so important to keep in mind that the search-and-rescue operations are i donongoing ands a very delicate and dangerous process. vice admiral, we appreciate your time. we know it is a busy period for you. let us know what we can do to get the message out and help those who need it most. thank you.
>> thank you, boris. >> of course. we do want to take a look now at where this storm is headed because even though it's no longer a hurricane it's now a posttropical cyclone, and it is going to impact the northeast. so let's go to the cnn weather center and brittany ritz who's been tracking the storm more than a week now. what are you seeing and what areas will be impacted most? >> most of it is the mid-atlantic and new england regions. it's a generic area of low pressure. so what it's doing is it 's a trip cal frontal system riding into new england, but most of it torn apart. the friction of the land didn't do much justice for the system itself. flooding is a concern. millions are you remembered some sort of flood alert from west virginia to the southwest side of virginia itself under a flood watch, but along the coastline where we're getting rain to
lighten up, we're dealing with more of the coastal flooding. it's not rain coming down that's causing the issue but water getting pushed in from the wind. many are under warnings. within the warned areas we're talking about one to two feet of water just coming up over top of the roadway. don't drive through it. 12 inches of moving walter is all it takes to lift your vehicle off the ground. that rain continues to fall from the mid-atlantic into new england. some of the heaveniest rain falling into long island right up into newport. boris? >> britley ritz, thank you for that update. before going back to fred, i wanted to share an anecdote that one of our producers heard from a resident here. we told you about these ships behind me at the top of the hour. these large vessels that were swept out of the marina and near this bridge. we heard from somebody who stayed in one of these vessels,
the one further to the left, during the storm, a gentleman by the name of tony. he and his wife stayed there during the storm. they would have left this area, would have left the marina, but they said that they were caught off guard by the way that the storm shismt shifted at the lase and how it intensified. hurricane ian was projected to be a kaltd gory 3, category 4 as it neared this area, near category 5 storm-force winds as hurricane ian pounded into florida. we are told after the boat crashed onto that area during the storm surge, tony and his wife actually climbed out of the boat and onto the bridge. so that is how high the storm surge was. you can see the damage it did with five large vessels. you see the scale of it by the people that are standing nearby. just like toys or like dice thrown across a landscape
haphazardly. fred, we're seeing scenes just like this one all over southwest florida into central florida as well. the damage from hurricane ian not only widespread but devastating as well. >> and as harrowing as that story is of what tony and his wife experienced, they're also very lucky that, you know, with their boat, you know, being placed somewhere else, afloat, it didn't sink with them on it, but instead got stuck in an area where they were able to walk off and be able to tell that story. but, you know, it really does underscore the variety of reasons why some people either stayed or got stuck with this storm and it continues to pose many threats. we'll get back to you. thank you so much, boris. for more information on how you might be able to help victims of hurricane ian, go to cnn.com/impact. still to come this hour, we continue our coverage of the aftermath of hurricane ian in
southwest florida. more than 1 million customers in florida still without power and many are trying to return home. i will talk to the mayor of sarasota straight ahead. and later, rusussian troops are retreating from a key city in eastern ukraine after being encircled by ukrainian fors. why ukrainian offificials belie it is an important step in their counteroffensive against russia. . don't just connect yourbusi. (dock worker) right on time. (vo) make it even smarter. we cl this enterprise intelligence. psoriasis really messes with you. try. hope. fail. no one should suffer like that. i started cosentyx®. five years clear. real people with psoriasis
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you have seen some of the pictures and heard some of the stories by now, hurricane ian devastating parts of southwest florida. at least 45 people have died and more than 1 million residents are still in the dark. but have you seen these before and after photos of sanibel island? entire neighborhoods were simply wiped out. in ft. myers, crews are struggling with cleanup as roads covered in debris create
hazardous conditions for first responders. and right now in sarasota county, this is a highway under water, and a potential levee break in the nearby community could create even more chaos. lots of worries continue there. i want to bring in sarasota's mayor, erik arroyo. so good to see you. so, this levee or the concerns about the levee are in sarasota county. i'm wondering how it might impact your city. >> at 3:00 a.m., there were indications of a possible levee break in what's called the hidden river community, which is on the other side of the highway, and the compromise of this levee break will only impact the homes in that side of the highway. it's very far away from the city, but we will feel the impactis of it because it's causing the highway to be basically blocked off and nobody can access the highway going
south, which is a key area, because south is where north port is, and ft. myers and the are a areas that got hit worse by the hurricane. it's impacting us getting them aid. >> what is life like for you and your fellow residents in sarasota right now? >> fred, we are truly -- we were very lucky to have avoided the direct hit of this massive hurricane. we have requested, you know, updates from our partners at florida power & light. we cannot get timing updates as of this time, but as 10:00 a.m. this morning, so two hours ago, there were 125,420 households that were without power. and florida power & light is working. they have different shifts. from my understanding they met
with the ceo yesterday. they have a day shift and then a night shift, then they have people working just around the clock to get the grid back up and running. i'm constantly receiving calls and emails of concerned citizens that don't have power, businesses. i was just with our senator rick scott touring some -- you know, looking at some businesses downtown, and, yeah, i mean, people that don't have a home and some of them can't eve gone to work because they don't have any power. it's a bad situation, not as bad as some individuals who are -- 250,000 individuals displaced in southwest florida we have to find a home for, a shelter, some aid of some kind. >> so, there are a variety of obstacles that you and many of your residents are facing, these power outages, you know, high water making certain roads, highways impassable. so how are you getting to the
most vulnerable, people you know are in need of some sort of assistance? and of course you have to get to them or relocate them because they don't have power and they have medical needs that require some power. >> the reason has big issues that cannot be resolved just by one county or city. we're all going to come together and kind of pool our resources. the extent if we can, we'll lend a hand when it comes to getting people in shelters. and we are going to get people the resources they need when it comes to fema funds and guide them through that process, which sometimes can get kicked back and you don't even know it got kicked back. so we have to make sure we follow through. we're going to help people keeping them informed, florida power & light, as to when the water comes on. we have been receiving help from people wanting to provide services for free.
i have been contacted by mayors from all throughout the state of florida including delray beach. the mayor called us and she said, we have hundreds of generators. we're willing to donate them or to lend, you know, during this crisis. so we can help the most vulnerable in so many different ways, but it's going to boil down to us coming together, working with the different agencies, working with the federal government, and ensuring that the right people get the right services to meet their needs. sba has many programs for businesses and it's just navigating all of that. for many of us, it's the first time we've had do this. >> sure. this has been devastating. it has been a fatal storm. and the last numbers that we received was 45 confirmed deaths, mostly there in southwest florida. are you getting an update on deaths or on recoveries, on
missing persons, and how that is impacting the numbers? >> we have received -- the latest numbers show there were two deaths in sarasota county, and those were due to the fact that it was a couple that was on breathing ventilators and that were connected to the grid, they were electric, and when the power went out, they were taken off that assistance. but as of right now, no other casualties are reported in the city or county of sarasota to my knowledge. >> yeah. and those are the kind of circumstances i'm talking about in terms of those who are particularly as a r ly vulnerab power. you have some communities -- it's like a -- to rely on power and what you may have in place or what you're about to
institute in order to get to those people. >> yeah. we're doing all we can, but we urge everyone to reach out to us. if anyone would like to volunteer, go to floridadisaster.org and volunteer, florida.org, the governor's websites, and you can sign up and donate monetarily, you can doe night items, you can sign up and be of service. if you have a special skill -- and moving forward, we know that many of these accounts are going to need to be needing electricians to hook the power back up because some of the grid will need to be rebuilt entirely. and because of that, we're getting ahead of the curve in the city of sarasota. we've asked our staff to look at ways of expediting electrical contractor permitting and seeing
how we can have some possible crossover with other states so that -- because there's going to come -- there's going to be a time very soon where we're going to be backed up and there won't be enough electrical contractors in our state, so we're going to need to pull from other states and be ready for when that happens. >> it's a gargantuan undertaking. sarasota mayor erik arroyo. thank you so much. all the best to you. coming up, a big setback for russiaia in eastern ukraine.e. russian troops have withdrawn from a town, an important rail network hub in donetsk. a live report from ukraine next. . affordable, high-quality hearing aids with all of the features yoneed, and none of the hale. i use lively hearing aids and it's been wonderfu it's so light and so small
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it's being considered one of the most significant gains for ukraine since the successful counteroffensive reclaiming key russian-occupied territories last month. russian forces are retreating from a strategic donetsk city one day after moscow's annexation of the region. nick paton walsh is in ukraine. this is one of the most important developments in some time. >> reporter: yeah. i mean, you couldn't have a starker difference, frankly, between the lofty claims made in moscow by russian president vladimir putin about annexing a place where i'm standing in that is still controlled by ukraine and what's really happening on the battlefield here, really exposed today by the russian
military of defense saying they have withdrawn from the town here. that is vitally important to russia claiming it as part of their territory falsely. we've seen in the past days ukrainian forces circle that town. and there have been concerns if it did fall it might trigger a knock-on effect on both regions for russia's presence. what we've seen today is possibly hundreds if not thousands of russian troops trapped inside the town that followed a statement from the russian military defense, a low key point in one of his daily bulletins saying we pulled out because we are going to a better place. that is a remarkable admission, frankly, given the focus over the past days on retaking the town from ukraine. it shows essentially russia struggling to get its positions
back in this area. what it has done remarkably is cause public infighting between the moscow elite on social media. one of the leaders of russia's republic, chechnya in the south, an outsized figure on instagram, who has fight in the back of field here, he went on and publicly named and shamed the commander of this fair to say now failed russian bid to hold on. he talked about how he wasn't sure that vladimir putin knew how badly this had been handled and how the commanders were 150 kilometers away in a nearby city of luhansk. he also says what we need to do now is declare martial law in russia's border areas and use low-yield nuclear weapons. he's echoing threats we've heard from the past week or so. he doesn't decide this policy. but we had this dissent inside president putin's elite breaking into the open in moments of
territorial loss for russia 24 hours after russia tries to claim these areas are part of its territory. with that is the backdrop still of the nuclear threat. >> you've been traveling through the area. i'm wondering what are residents telling you about how this annexation has impacted them? >> reporter: it hasn't really at all, to be honest, if you're in areas held by ukraine. if you're in areas held by russia, they've already done the best they can to make local residents feel that, and that led some people to be asked or requested or forced to have russian citizenship. we've seen russians take what they refer to as aid. the problem about so many of these areas occupied by russia is that their indiscriminate bids to blast into these areas, they've done significant damage to infrastructure and killed thousands of civilian as well. there hasn't been enormous change on either side of the
front line since vladimir putin and the four leaders of the areas of ukraine that he claims are part of russia stood on the stage and signed together papers. nothing has really changed. i think the hard thing for the kremlin now is to square the extraordinary difference between what they've been very publicly telling their domestic audience after weeks of failure and partial mobilization of their own civilians on the front lines here too. their message was we will win, we know what we're doing. and a day later it's absolutely clear they don't and they're being reminded of that by members of their own inner elite. >> nick, you just described how ukrainian forces have surrounded some of the russian troops and then the russian troops are retreating. is there a squeezing in of the russian troops or is it more of a realization that they are surrounded and so they retreat? >> i think it's very hard to tell. we'll find out in the hours and days ahead exactly how many
russians were essentially left behind in lyman by their own forces. the access routes may have been damaged by russians as they retreated to defend their more backup positions. we don't know how many russians were left behind. we know russia's slogan is nobody's left behind. it appears from videos we're seeing certainly dozens if not hundreds of russia's prisoners of war were e left behind in lyman. >> thank you so much. comingng up, we'll go live north myrtle beach back in this country where a local landmark built in the '50s has fallen partially in into the city. p yod new trading opportunities. while an earnings tool helps you plan your trades and stay on top of the market. dry skin is sensitive skin, too. and it's natural. treat it that way with aveeno® daily moisture. formulated with nourishing, prebiotic oat. it's clinically proven to moiurize dry skin
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people are still without power, and where residents are getting for the first time in some areas a look at the destruction wrought by hurricane ian with near category 5 storm-force winds. we are expecting to hear from deanne criswell, the fema administrator, at any moment. we'll bring you her remarks live. right now i want to speak to a resident here in ft. myers, laura brooks. she actually rode out the storm on her boat, and from what we can see here it appears as though it's intact, notably right next to it, the vessel next to it is tipped over, damaged perhaps irreparably. laura, a lot of folks i think at home are wondering what made you decide to stay and ride out the storm here. >> i didn't stay on the boat the whole time. actually, on tuesday, around 6:00 or 6:30 i guess, just before it got dark, i pretty much centered my boat, tied it
as good as i could and centered it, then took my cats and got in my car, put all my stuff in my car, and we thought it would be -- you know, i've only experienced irma before so i thought maybe it will be like that. so i thought well, i'll stay in the ladies bathroom there, you know. wasn't fun, but, you know, it was okay. tuesday night, everything was fine, it was stormy and everything, but wednesday was just a nightmare, the whole day, the whole night. what made me stay? because a lot of people, i guess, it's our home, you know? i mean, i guess i couldn't say i don't have anywhere else to go. there are people, but i always feel kind of imposing on them. i don't know. so, but like i said, i was there before and it worked out okay. but during the night, or during
late evening, i kind of lost track of time. i was getting worried, though. i noticed water started coming in the bathroom, which didn't happen before, you know, so i picked up stuff off the floor and kind of hung it up and set it on the vanity, and my cats' carrier and stuff and put them in it. and the water just kept rising and rising. finally it got to right about my knees and i was calling 911, although i didn't think there was anything they could do because if it was that high there, then i didn't think they could do anything. but at least they would know you know. and i called and let my boyfriend know that i don't know what's going to happen, but if i die, here's my best friend's phone number, you know, you keep in touch. anyway, but during that night, it was just horrible winds. you look outside, i mean, i did take some pictures and some video and post it.
people were coming in off of boats that were wrecked. i saw my car just floating away, getting banged up. and, you know, it was really bad. really, really bad. the worst thing ever to happen to me like this. >> we're so grateful you were okay. >> people were coming off their boats. some of them had to jump in the water. a couple, three people came in. i opened the door to see what was going on, and three people came in. they were, like, we just jumped off of our boat and jumped into the water, and -- so they were soaked, you know? you just can't even imagine how scary that had to have been with boats being crashed against each other, you know, big boats, big, beautiful bolts crushed on top of each other. >> right. >> you know, everything flying,
the winds so bad. >> you can see some of those vessels behind us now. i'm wondering, as you take a look around and you see that your vessel is in pretty good shape compared to the rest of them -- >> yes. >> -- you must feel really lucky. >> oh, my god. i prayed. i mean, i'm not saying i never prayed before, but i -- yes, i am truly blessed and thankful, you know. yeah. i feel very, very blessed. yes. definitely. >> so just context for our viewers, the marina here has sort of an outpost where there are rest rooms. it's not far from your boat, so that's where you essentially spent the hurricane. when you're there with your cats and you're huddled and putting your belongings over to get them out of the water to hang them up, what's going through your mind? what are you telling yourself? >> i wasn't sure if it was going to keep rising, how high it was going to rise, because i never
experienced that before. >> yeah. sno >> and i thought we might die. >> you laugh at it, but at the time it must have been terrifying. >> yes, it was. absolutely. i feel definitely thought -- you don't know if it's going to stop rising. >> right. >> and you don't know because, you know, how high it's going to go up in that bathroom. if you go outside, it's even worse. >> right. >> so you just don't know. >> you're almost trapped at that point. you mentioned you had gone through irma, but nothing like this ever. >> yeah. >> i'm assuming you're not from this area or haven't been here for a whole lot of time in florida. >> i've been here since 2016, but i lived in ft. lauderdale when i was a kid. >> yeah. anything, any storm that you had been through before that kind of gave you an idea of what was coming? >> irma was the worst weather i ever experienced. i'd never experienced bad -- i mean, snowstorms and stuff, but
nothing bad. >> any chance that this storm might dissuade you from living in sunny florida? >> oh, no. >> you love it here. >> yeah. this is my home. i came here and i'm not going anywhere. i love it here. this is my home. even if it weren't on a boat, this is my home. this is a beautiful state. like i said, i lived here as a kid. i wouldn't want to be anywhere else. >> you wouldn't want to be anywhere else even after nearly a category 5 storm. >> i'm looking at the boats all crashed. even after not having any power or water or not knowing when we're going to get it, even after sleeping in the dark in the hot and -- you know -- >> even after praying for your life. >> yes. yeah. it's beautiful. i love it here. yeah. every place has its challenges. i love looking out on the water. i mean, some of this didn't have to happen, you know. this is an old marina. it was built in the '30s, you
know. it should have had better maintenance. some of the dock cleats popped. the docks are crumbling. they should have been taken care of. this is a money-making entity. you know, this could have been better. >> i'm sure there are going to be investigations into what could have been done differently. right now we appreciate you sharing your story with us. fred, i'm going to toss it back to you because i understand the fema administrator is about to deliver some remarks. >> exactly. we're going to go to that right now. deanne criswell, fema administrator, speaking now. >> -- an update from both orange county and the heroic efforts that they took over the last few days to help make sure that they were the saving lives within their community. one of the things i thought was amazing was the amount of preparedness that went into this and making sure that they reached out to those that were the most vulnerable to make sure
that they got out of harm's way. and i think it's made a tremendous difference, so to everybody here it's just remarkable effort across both the county and the city to make sure that they were protecting everybody here. we know that we're going to have a long road to recovery ahead of us. i have brought with me members from my response and recovery team at headquarters to make sure that they are also understanding what the impacts are. and we have already started the planning efforts for what it's going to take to rebuild these communities and recover from this storm but also recover in way that makes them more resilient against some of the impacts from these storms in the future. i think that we have a great team here on the ground, and i also just want to take a minute to introduce -- and i brought with me here today our u.s. fire administrator, who's been traveling with me as well to look at what the impact has been to our first responders and communities and give her an opportunity to say a few words as well.
>> good afternoon. as the administrator said, we are on the ground. fema's mission is to look out for certainly the community. it is the mission of the usfa to check in on our first responders. and as you all 2340e v know they nature is to respond in spite of their own families being in peril, in spite of their own health and safety many times. so we are here to check on them, to make sure that they have the health and safety needs they have, the basic human needs that they need while they are continuing to respond in the aftermath and the ongoing chaos and the risk that's ka late even now has hurricane ian has moved on. one of those is their behavior health impact, so we're making sure they have behavior health sources that they're checking in with them periodically as well. we'll continue to monitor those resources.
>> i also want to acknowledge the tremendous assistance we have received from the federal emergency management agency. all of you know that orange county was also recently declared one of the eligible areas for full fema reimbursement. what that means for us here within our community is that it provides 100% federal funding for debris removal and emergency lifesaving measures for the next 30 days. if you want more information as res to see about eligibility there, you can go to dis disasterassistance.gov. we are appreciative for sending charles williams to assist us in our operations center. he has been a tremendous help and assistance to those of us within the county as we've been responding to the emergency. at this time, i'm going to ask
the orlando mayor to come forward and then sheriff john mina to come forward for comments and then open it up for any questions that you may have. >> thank you, mayor. i want to also thank president biden and the director for including us in the emergency declaration. it's important as we respond to this historic storm event that we're collaborating at the federal level, the state level, and the local government level. we know a lot of our citizens have been impacted, a lot of still are being impacted for water intrusion into homes and floods, no power, at least in the city of orlando now down from 95,000 customers without power to somewhere around 7,000. they're working very hard to reduce that number as well. but i want to especially thank the men and women of the orlando police department, fire
department, public works, parks, reconciliation, forestry, all that have been out on the first line helping and responding to citizens, many of whom have had extended periods of time and have worked extremely hard to try to restore our community to where we need to be. administrator, thank you for being here. >> good afternoon. i'll be brief, but i want to talk about the great collaboration and partnerships. we've all been working together for decades, and we train together, we prepare together, and then we respond together. i think our central florida community is in great hands. i thank the administrator for coming. it's one thing to hear about fema coming but to have the administrator here and talk to her about our concerns and the fact that she cared about, you know, we have many employees who, while they're out there saving lives and rescuing folks,
their own homes were flooded. we really appreciate that. thank you. >> i'll just echo the words of the mayor, all of the men and women who have been working across the various disciplines to keep our community safe during this period of time. we know the work has not concluded. we still have much work to do as we are still now in the recovery phase. what we would do at this point is open it up for any questions that you would have for the administrator or any of the other persons who are joining us at this time. any questions? here we go. >> i have a question for the mayor. >> yes. >> a lot of cities have set curfew in place for emergency personnel to work. [ inaudible ]. >> there is no curfew in place at this time for orange county, and we have based that upon the
recommendation of our law enforcement personnel led by the sheriff. we're fortunate we're not seeing widespread lawlessness occurring within our community, and as a result of that, if that these to change at some point in the future, then we'll make that modification. >> thanks for joining me. i'm fredricka whitfield in atlanta. kor boris sanchez is in ft. myers. this just in, we are learning the death toll from hurricane ian in florida has jumped to at least 64, and it comes as rescue missions continue across the state. also, florida officials say an evacuation for an area threatened by the potential levee break was successful. sheriff's deputies going door to door overnight warning residents of a private community near sarasota of this possible flooding threat. if broken, a wall of
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