SARASOTA, Fla. — It has been 100 days since Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida's southwest coast with such ferocity whole neighborhoods were destroyed. Many survivors are still struggling and are left without a home.
Charlotte Hinger was working at Sarasota Memorial Hospital when the Category 4 hurricane rolled through the area. Hours after the storm, her family had to be rescued by boat from their home in North Port due to flooding. Since then, they have been living a half hour away in an AirBnB.
“It’s just been really weird not having my own space and my own stuff most of our stuff got ruined,” Hinger said.
Over in Lee County, Krystina Rivera said there is still a lot of debris piled up on the side of roads and in front of homes. “We do see a lot of construction but not a lot of people are picking up debris,” she explained.
She rode out the storm in her apartment right outside of Fort Myers Beach. Rivera said the hardest part about the storm was losing her mom. It was a moment that changed her life forever. “That was the worst thing not seeing our cars flooding or that we were in danger but that I lost my mom,” said Rivera.
Rivera said the roof at her apartment complex is still covered by tarps. “It doesn’t even feel like it has been 100 days, it seems like just yesterday,” she said.
Ian sustained winds of 150 mph (240 kph), it was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit southwest Florida. It later cut a watery and wind-battered swath across the Florida peninsula before turning out to sea to regain strength and pummel South Carolina.
It killed more than 100 people, the majority of victims in Florida, making it the third-deadliest storm to hit the U.S. mainland this century. Even a week after it passed through, officials warned that more victims could yet be found as they continued to inspect the damage. The storm knocked out power to 2.6 million and caused billions of dollars in damage.
Research has shown that between a third and half of those who survive a disaster develop some type of mental distress, said Jennifer Horney, an epidemiology professor at the University of Delaware who studies natural disaster impacts on public health.