Pine Island evacuees help one another after Hurricane Ian destruction

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Agusto “Kiko” and Julia “Gordie” Villalon returned to Pine Island after fleeing Hurricane Ian, leaving just as the slow-moving storm’s winds and rain began to batter the island. Almost a week later, they were on a boat back to their mobile home.

They weren’t sure what they would find, they weren’t even sure their house would be there.

Many who evacuated Cape Coral, Matlacha and Pine Island are returning to check on their homes. Not all come back to stay: some homes are unlivable right now or can’t meet the needs of their owners, many of whom are elderly or disabled adults.

More than a week ago, Hurricane Ian hit Pine Island, a vulnerable coastal community of blue-collar workers and retired seniors. At 155 miles per hour, its 60-mile-wide eyewall sat just off the southwest Florida coast for hours, battering the area with wind, rain and storm surge until it tore through roofs and walls , break wooden telephone poles and drop the ship. blocks from where they had been anchored, and floating cars and mobile homes.

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