Hurricane Ian news: Pennsauken native living in Florida shares update on storm damage

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — It’s been a little over a day now to survey the damage Hurricane Ian has caused along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

It is clear that it will take months or even years for some areas to be rebuilt.

On Thursday evening, Pennsauken native Gabe Ferraro was able to get a brief window of cellphone service from his home in Cape Coral, where he weathered the storm.

He says his thoughts are now with those in places like Fort Myers, where crews still can’t really get to.

“People can’t get in there to see if the family is alive. The bridge is unusable, as is Sanibel. The causeway that many people use to go to the beach is completely gone. The connection from Fort Myers to Sanibel is gone,” Ferraro said.

He says that in addition to food and water, gas is the main demand there until reconstruction begins.

ALSO SEE: Philadelphia Eagles Fan Rides Hurricane Ian in Cape Coral, Florida

“Gas is the number one necessity right now alongside electricity and water – gas because everyone wants to keep their generator running all day. The one gas station I stopped at had 200 people lined up and only two pumps were working,” Ferraro said.

As Ferraro said, it’s almost impossible to communicate with loved ones in areas that have been hit directly. Drexel Hill’s Margie DiGiovanni is someone who is having that experience.

Her son lives in downtown Fort Myers and she has not heard from him since his phone died on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Hurricane Ian Heads to South Carolina While Flooding Traps Many in Florida; Death toll increases

“He warned us that the backup battery was likely to fail, and if we don’t hear from him, we just have to accept and pray,” DiGiovanni said.

Heidi Dampman, King of Prussia, travels to Florida to help with recovery. She’s with the Red Cross.

We met her just before she left on Thursday.

She will be responsible for delivering hot meals to those who have not received one since the power went out. But she knows what she’s about to see won’t be easy.

PHOTOS: Haunting aerial images show the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Sanibel Island

Damaged homes and debris are shown after Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022 in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

“There are times when you walk away and you get upset because you see what these families are going through,” Dampman said.

The Red Cross says without question that donations will be needed for months afterward.

But the easiest way to do this is by making a financial donation. Officials say it’s the most efficient way to get supplies and food to those who need it.

MORE: A chunk of the Sanibel Causeway crashes into the sea during Ian, cutting off the island of Florida, home to 6.3k people


A damaged causeway to Sanibel Island is seen following Hurricane Ian Thursday, September 29, 2022 near Sanibel Island, Florida.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

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