FORT MYERS, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Fort Myers on Tuesday to survey recovery efforts nearly one week after Hurricane Ian devastated parts of the state.
The governor later held an afternoon news conference at Lakes Regional Library in Fort Myers.
He was joined by Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle and other officials.
DeSantis, who visited Pine Island for the first time Tuesday, said the bridge is being patched and will be open this week.
He said a contractor is looking at the heavy-damaged Sanibel Causeway in an effort to develop a similar plan.
Watch the news conference below:
"I have not been on the ground yet in Sanibel. I've flown over it a couple of times," DeSantis said. "I'm probably going to go tomorrow and look firsthand."
Linemen have begun to assess the damage on Pine Island as power restoration efforts begin, the governor said.
Since the hurricane hit southwest Florida last week, the governor said four people have been arrested on looting charges. He said three of the four people arrested were in the country illegally.
"These are people that are foreigners," DeSantis said. They're illegally in our country, and not only that, try to loot and ransack in the aftermath of a natural disaster. ... They need to be sent back to their home country. They should not be here at all."
DeSantis also announced the opening of the first Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian.
It is located at the Lakes Regional Library at 15290 Bass Road in Fort Myers.
This DRC location opened Tuesday and will be operational from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The governor said the DRC is collocated with more than 10 agencies to provide a "one-stop shop" for individuals or businesses in need.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Florida on Wednesday and meet with DeSantis. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden will get a briefing from DeSantis and other officials managing recovery efforts.
The death toll from the storm in Florida currently stands at 68.
Click here to learn how you can donate to victims of the storm.