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Hurricane Ian: Florida death toll rises

The death toll from Hurricane Ian has reportedly risen past 80 in Florida as rescue personnel continue to search for survivors and assess the damage.

Officials in Florida have come under fire as critics allege residents in some hard-hit areas did not receive enough advance warning to evacuate.

At least half of the deaths recorded so far are in Lee County, where Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.

President Joe Biden is expected to visit Florida on Wednesday.

According to the BBC’s US partner network CBS, the hurricane‘s death toll in Florida stood at at least 82 on Monday morning. Another four deaths have been confirmed in North Carolina.

The Florida District Medical Examiners Commission, however, has put the death toll at 58. The figures differ as while local officials may report additional storm-related deaths, the medical examiner’s officer is only attributing a death to the hurricane after an autopsy is performed.

The bulk of the deaths, 42 have been reported in Lee County, which includes the hard-hit areas Fort Myers, Sanibel and Pine Island. On Friday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis described the county as “ground zero” for the hurricane.

Writing by Omotola Oguneye