It's been a week since Hurricane Ian hit the southwest Florida coast with winds exceeding 140 miles per hour.

All that remains of many vacation spots in the so-called Sunshine State are rubble.

Satellite images show that entire settlements have been washed away by the water masses, bridges have collapsed and some roads are still impassable.

According to American media reports, at least 100 people died in the hurricane.

In such times, as Joe Biden repeatedly said after the hurricane, it is not about political differences.

Sofia Dreisbach

North American political correspondent based in Washington.

  • Follow I follow

And so the American President traveled to Florida on Wednesday to assess the damage in the state of his political opponent, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

On the morning of the trip, Biden announced that the government in Washington's emergency aid period for the hard-hit state would be doubled from 30 to 60 days.

It includes individual support for 17 districts, such as cleaning up, and covers costs for search and rescue, emergency shelter and food distribution, among other things.

The recovery will take a long time, said National Coordination Office for Disaster Relief, Deanne Criswell, to journalists on the flight to Florida on Wednesday.

"We know that." Some communities would have to be "completely rebuilt".

The long-term accommodation of people made homeless by the hurricane is therefore a major challenge. According to Criswell, 17 federal rescue teams are currently on the road in Lee County, the hardest-hit district, to check the statics of houses.

Biden wants to give a speech in the afternoon

President Biden first inspected the damage during a 30-minute helicopter flight.

After meeting with residents of the city of Fort Myers and local business owners affected by Ian, Biden planned to address the issue later in the afternoon.

At his side will also be Governor DeSantis, one of Biden's loudest critics and a possible Republican challenger in the 2024 presidential election. Shortly before the two men met, she repeated the President's line that the federal government had good cooperation with her given to the state in emergency relief.

It was "focused on helping the people of Florida."

On Tuesday, the national coordination office for disaster relief and the state of Florida opened the first so-called disaster recovery center in Fort Myers.

It is intended to serve as a contact point in which the offers of help from various federal and state authorities as well as non-governmental organizations are offered.

Here, those affected can register for disaster relief, find out about claiming insurance benefits, or get help after losing important documents.

In areas where internet and phone connectivity continues to be disrupted, residents can register with disaster relief teams for assistance.

You work with the people "until everything is completed," Criswell promised on Wednesday.

One is still in the "mode to save lives", which is why there are still no concrete figures as to how much the aid will cost the federal government in total - but Hurricane Ian "certainly" caused damage in the billions.

She doesn't want to weigh natural disasters against each other, but Ian is without question "a disaster".