Floridians whose homes and businesses were destroyed during Hurricane Ian are adamant about rebuilding the communities that were destroyed during Hurricane Ian.
Images out of some of the hardest hit regions like Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach show entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble after menacing storm surge and Category 4 hurricane force winds ripped through southwest Florida on Oct. 28.
Despite threats exacerbated by climate change, such as rising sea levels and the threat of more intense storm systems, and the challenges presented by the sheer level of devastation, residents are vowing to bring these coastal communities back to their former glory.
“There’s no doubt that the rebuilding efforts, the reconstruction efforts, after Hurricane Ian, are going to be very challenging, and they’re going to take longer than they ordinarily would,” Matthew Harrell, CEO of Franklin Street, a commercial real estate company that specializes in Southwest Florida, told ABC News.
The expense of rebuilding will certainly be an issue that city officials will be grappling with in the coming weeks and months, Harrell said. After a major catastrophe, there is often a “demand surge,” which involves a temporary increase in the cost of reconstruction due to high demand of materials and labor.
The rebuilding efforts are expected to take longer than usual because of breakdowns in the supply chain and labor shortages that existed prior to Ian, Harrell said.
In addition, even those insurance rates will rise, the rates for newly built properties that are up to code will be less expensive, Harrell said.
Despite the risk of hurricanes, the areas still present desirable attributes such as beautiful beaches, warm weather and economic opportunities that come with tourism, Harrell said.
“There are very few parts of the country that are safe from any sort of natural catastrophes,” he said. “We have a history of just coming out of these catastrophes stronger better than better than ever.”