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Fort Myers ‘oasis’ community in tatters after Hurricane Ian as residents rebuild

By Mitchell Consky, writer

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    Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) — In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, a tight-knit coastal community in Fort Myers is coming to grips with devastation at their doorstep — and is working together to rebuild.

“I was told my car was under water,” Marilyn Meir, a Fort Myers resident, told CTV National News. “Well, I wasn’t told it was on top of my bike also.”

Meir’s property was one of the many damaged by the category-four storm, which residents claimed was the worst they’ve ever encountered.

Meir’s neighbourhood of mobile homes, which one resident called their own little “oasis,” is now ravaged with ripped-up roofs, torn-up awnings, and the stench of flood water. Debris has been scattered along the coast, rendering what was once a paradise into a place of destruction.

Darwin Anderson, another Fort Myers resident, said he “didn’t think he was going to make it at one time,” as the storm rattled his community.

Pieces of wood from someone’s front porch ended up on Anderson’s pick-up truck, and pieces from someone else’s porch ended up at the back of his house, he told CTV National News.

Peter Don, a Canadian from southern Ontario who is also a resident of the Fort Myers community, says he’s determined not to give up.

“I want to cry. That’s all,” said Don, who arrived to help with clean-up efforts and salvage what’s left of the broken paradise. “I’m not going to let my house go.”

Once the storm alleviated, community members like Don jumped into action, delivering dehumidifiers, generators, and repair equipment. But much work is still needed, especially for those with not much left to save.

“[Hurricane] Ian took everything,” said Janie Meir, another Fort Myers community member. “It took out the whole park. We got out just in time. Our place is done. We got to start all over.”

Amidst all the destruction and despair, however, residents could be seen pushing wheel-barrels of debris and distributing supplies to neighbours, determined to rebuild.

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