Ian azota Carolina del Sur; aumenta saldo letal en Florida

ian azota carolina del sur; aumenta saldo letal en florida

Un automovilista avanza a través de una calle inundada y otro decide buscar otra ruta en medio de las lluvias provocadas por el huracán Ian, el viernes 30 de septiembre de 2022, en Charleston, Carolina del Sur. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Un reanimado huracán Ian azotó la costa de Carolina del Sur el viernes, desbaratando muelles e inundando calles luego de haber causado daños catastróficos en Florida, donde dejó a miles de personas atrapadas en sus casas y al menos 17 muertos.

La poderosa tormenta, que se calcula ha sido uno de los huracanes más costosos que hayan azotado Estados Unidos, ha aterrorizado a la gente gran parte de la semana, golpeando el oeste de Cuba y generando grandes daños en el centro de Florida antes de recuperar fuerza en las aguas del Océano Atlántico para girar de nuevo hacia tierra y pegar en Carolina del Sur.

Aunque el vórtice de Ian tocó tierra cerca de Georgetown, Carolina del Sur, con vientos mucho más débiles a los que tenía cuando entró a Florida por la costa del Golfo de México, la tormenta generó inundaciones en muchas áreas de la península de Charleston, donde se encuentra el centro de la ciudad. También se llevó partes de cuatro muelles a lo largo de la costa, incluyendo dos en la localidad turística de Myrtle Beach.

Cámaras en internet mostraban cómo el agua de mar llenaba vecindarios en Garden City al nivel de las pantorrillas. A medida que Ian avanzaba el viernes por la noche a través de Carolina del Sur en su camino a Carolina del Norte, se convirtió en un ciclón postropical.

El meteoro dejó una amplia estela de destrucción en Florida, inundando áreas en sus dos costas, arrancando viviendas de sus cimientos, destruyendo negocios ubicados frente a las playas y dejando a más de 2 millones de personas sin energía eléctrica.

Muchos de los fallecimientos fueron por ahogamiento, incluyendo el de una mujer de 68 años que fue arrastrada al océano por una ola. Un hombre de 67 años que aguardaba a ser rescatado cayó al agua acumulada en el interior de su vivienda, señalaron las autoridades.

Otras muertes relacionadas con la tormenta incluyen a una mujer de 22 años que falleció después de que un vehículo todoterreno se volcó debido a una brecha que se abrió en un camino, y a un hombre de 71 años que se cayó de un techo mientras instalaba contraventanas. Una mujer de 80 años y un hombre de 94 que requerían oxigenadores también murieron después de que su equipo dejó de funcionar debido a los apagones.

Otras tres personas murieron en Cuba esta semana luego de que Ian azotó la isla en su ruta hacia el norte. Se prevé que la cifra de muertes se incremente sustancialmente una vez que las autoridades tengan oportunidad de buscar en muchas de las áreas más afectadas.

Los rescatistas usaron botes para salvar a miles de personas atrapadas en sus casas por las inundaciones en Florida.

El gobernador Ron DeSantis dijo que los rescatistas habían efectuado visitas casa por casa a más de 3.000 viviendas en las áreas más golpeadas.

“Realmente se ha efectuado una labor titánica”, dijo en una conferencia de prensa en Tallahassee.

El huracán Ian presumiblemente ha provocado “bastante más de 100.000 millones de dólares” en daños, incluyendo 63.000 millones en pérdidas cubiertas por aseguradoras privadas, según Karen Clark & Company, una firma que elabora modelos sobre desastres y que regularmente emite cálculos sobre catástrofes repentinas. Si esas cifras se corroboran, eso convertiría a Ian en cuando menos el cuarto huracán más costoso en la historia de Estados Unidos.

El director de la División de Gestión de Emergencias de Florida, Kevin Guthrie, dijo que los socorristas se han centrado hasta ahora en búsquedas “rápidas”, destinadas a rescates de emergencia y evaluaciones iniciales, a las que seguirán otras dos oleadas de búsquedas. Los primeros socorristas que se encuentran con posibles restos los dejan sin confirmar, dijo el viernes, y describió el caso de una vivienda sumergida.

“El agua estaba por encima del techo, así es, pero hicimos que un nadador de rescate de la Guardia Costera ingresara nadando y pudo identificar lo que parecían ser restos humanos. No sabemos exactamente cuántos eran”, señaló Guthrie.

Desesperados por localizar y rescatar a sus seres queridos, usuarios de redes sociales compartieron en línea números telefónicos, domicilios y fotografías de sus familiares y amigos en caso de que alguien pueda ver cómo están.

Los residentes de Orlando volvieron a sus casas inundadas el viernes, arremangándose los pantalones para vadear el agua fangosa que cubría las calles y les llegaba a la rodilla. Amigos de Ramón Rodríguez dejaron hielo, agua embotellada y café caliente a la entrada de su subdivisión, donde 10 de las 50 casas estaban inundadas y la calle parecía un lago. No tenía electricidad ni comida en su casa, y su coche estaba cubierto por el agua.

“Hay agua por todas partes”, comentó Rodríguez. “La situación aquí es bastante mala”.

___

Gómez Licón reportó desde Punta Gorda, Florida. Los periodistas de The Associated Press Anthony Izaguirre, Terry Spencer, Tim Reynolds, Cody Jackson, Freida Frisaro, Mike Schneider, Seth Borenstein y Bobby Caina Calvan contribuyeron a este despacho.

Este artículo fue publicado por primera vez en Los Angeles Times en Español.

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