About 100 people have died in Florida from Hurricane Ian, and rescuers are still searching for survivors.
In the United States, state officials have been criticized for not giving enough notice to residents of the worst-hit areas to evacuate.
More than half of the fatalities were recorded in Lee County, where Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Florida on Wednesday.
On Monday, Ian visited Puerto Rico, which was hit by Hurricane Fiona just days before it landed in Florida, pledging $60 million in aid to U.S. territory.
Ponce is still without power in some areas, and he said he will “make sure you get every single dollar we promised.”
At least 99 people were killed by the hurricane in Florida as of Monday night, according to the BBC’s US network partner CBS. Four other deaths have been confirmed in North Carolina.
The latest death toll is at least 68, according to Florida officials. The figures differ because local authorities reported more storm-related deaths, while coroners conducted autopsies and attributed only one death to the hurricane.
Most of the 54 deaths were reported in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers, Sanibel and Pine Island, the hardest-hit areas, Sheriff Carmine Marceno said at a news conference.
Access to the Fort Myers beach area has been restricted for authorities to investigate dead bodies and preserve crime scenes, Marceno said. He added that there was also a looting incident and several people were arrested.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday described the county as hurricane “ground zero.”
Confusion over death tolls is common in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane. In 2020, for example, fewer than 20 deaths were reported days after Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana, but the National Hurricane Center later revised that figure to 47.
Hurricane Ian’s death toll is already one of the most memorable hurricanes in recent memory, but it’s still low compared to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people.
In the aftermath of the storm, Lee County officials are facing questions about the timing of the evacuation order, which was issued on Sept. 27, 24 hours before Ian’s landing. Other counties in the hurricane’s path issued their own evacuation orders early.
Local officials and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have defended Lee County’s hurricane preparedness.
“Everybody wants to look at the plan that could have been done differently,” Marceno said on Sunday. “I agree 100% with the county commissioner and the county administrator. At the same time, I did what I needed to do. I didn’t change anything.”
A 2015 planning document on the Lee County government’s official website noted that “due to its large population and limited systems, Southwest Florida is the most difficult place in the nation to evacuate in the event of a disaster” It has been.
The document adds that the evacuation decision-making process considers “the risks of evacuation, the impact on the lives of residents and visitors, the business and the potential magnitude of the imminent threat.”
The death toll released by Florida officials does not include at least 16 Cuban migrants who are still missing after their boat capsized off the coast of Florida.
Of the 27 crew members, nine were rescued by the United States Coast Guard and two managed to swim to Stock Island near Key West. The Japan Coast Guard is still suspending the search for missing persons.
About 451,000 homes and businesses statewide are still without power, according to Poweroutage.us.
Florida Power & Light, the utility with the most blackouts, said most customers had power restored by Oct. 7, but some properties “cannot safely receive power” due to storm damage.